History Lesson: The Jinx
Whatever happened to the Jinx? Mitch Shelley learns what made this obscure Chicago hero from the 1960s retire after a short career.
Mitch Shelley entered the three-story building directly across from the Zoo Crew theme park, passing the sign that read Hall of Heroes and Villains before stopping a guard.
“Have you seen Mr. Carter today?” Shelley asked with a reserved politeness.
“He’s on the third floor working on the wax exhibits,” the guard replied before continuing his patrol of the area.
Shelley walked past the wax models of the Justice Society of America, avoiding the gathered crowd looking at the famous super-hero team. He entered the elevator alone and exited on the third floor. Unlike the very popular first floor, containing figures and memorabilia about the JSA and Infinity Inc., the third floor was almost completely devoid of people. Even so, the figures and exhibits still glittered and shone due to the efforts of the man now struggling with one of the wax figures.
Striding silently over to the struggling man, Shelley helped push the figure into place. Carter looked startled for a brief moment before smiling at the young man.
“Thank you, Mr. Shelley, for your assistance.” Carter adjusted the costume minutely before stepping back.
Shelley looked at the seven wax figures standing together with curiosity as he also stepped back. “Just who were these Seven Shadows?”
“These fellows are the second group to bear that name. They operated during the early ’60s in Chicago before disappearing from sight. There was one group before them that operated during the ’40s. Not many people are interested in these forgotten heroes and villains nowadays.” Carter sighed softly.
“I am interested in all of this,” Shelley said, waving a hand to indicate his interest in the wax figures.
“You make an old man’s day with that curiosity of yours, Mr. Shelley.” Carter walked over to a figure in black with the name Jinx on the plaque below him.
“This fellow operated in the same city that the second group calling themselves the Seven Shadows did, but just before they were formed.” Carter gestured at the heavyset man in the black costume before sitting down on one of the many chairs lay out all over the room.
“He never became famous beyond the city limits of Chicago, and even within the city most people didn’t know about him. He was one of these dilettante super-heroes that popped up in the early ’60s.” Carter looked nostalgic about the old days as he spoke.
“What do you mean by ‘dilettantes’?” Shelley asked curiously.
“It was more of game to them back then, without all the death and destruction,” Carter explained to Shelley. “Jinx was probably more serious about it than most, because he operated against ordinary human criminals instead of costumed villains.”
“So what did this Jinx do?” Shelley tapped his hand on the plaque.
“He had inherited a mutated version of his father’s curse which allowed him to put a bad luck whammy on his opponents, which rebounded into good luck for him.” Carter looked excited as he relayed the information.
“I went out to Chicago to meet him myself after he retired from the hero business. He was very polite and kind, and even took me to his house for dinner with his wife and baby girls. I had to do a lot of traveling in those days, interviewing people for the museum.” Carter smiled at the memories of his travels as he continued his story.
“He was working on catching a group of gunrunners with the aid of the police force, when three of them cornered him in an alley and started shooting. He turned on the Jinx power, and the ricochets from the bullets snapped a canopy loose, which fell on two of the bad guys. The third fellow’s gun jammed, and Jinx expected it to be all over. He said he was surprised when the man pulled a knife and stabbed him. Fortunately, the blood made the third gunmen slip and fall into a wall, knocking him cold. Several of the police officers rushed over and took Jinx to the hospital. He said that it was then time for him to retire from the hero business.”
“So his powers had stopped working, which is why he retired?” Shelley examined the wax figure of Jinx.
“That’s what he thought originally, but because of his injury, he met a nurse and fell in love with her. He said it was the best piece of good luck in his whole life. He still decided to stay retired and became an insurance salesman. We still correspond with each other, though, about life in general. His twin daughters apparently inherited a variety of his powers, but neither one had an interest in becoming a costumed individual. One’s a fortune reader here in California, and the other is a Secret Service agent in Washington, the last I had heard.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: To learn more about Rene Fortune, see DC Universe: The Race, Book 1, Chapter 7: Throwing Support.]
Shelley looked at the clock on the wall and gestured to it. “How about I buy you lunch in appreciation for the story?”
“I never refuse a lunch that someone else pays for, so lead on, Mr. Shelley.” Carter rose to his feet. The two talked about the weather as they entered the elevator.