The Guardian, a DC Comics’ superhero. Patterned on Captain America, to a degree. He was, after all, created by the team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the guys who created (but ultimately didn’t own) the character of Captain America for Timely Comics (the company that became Marvel Comics).
Captain America first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 first hit the stands in March of 1941, and became a great success for Timely. Joe & the King would try a couple more time to capture that “lightning in a bottle”. The Guardian was one of those attempts, first appearing in a competing magazine, Star-Spangled Comics #7 (April 1942).
Although he’s been written off and on since with a kind of “patriotic” or “military” attitude, his first appearances make him seem more like “superhero policeman“. His shield even looks more like a cop’s badge. His name was Jim Harper, and he had his streetwise “Newsboy Legion” sidekicks in tow.
Captain America is my favorite comic book superhero character, and I also have an affection for various “knock-off” versions, as they can offer different viewpoints of Cap.
Back in the early 2000’s, DC Comics tried a bit of a “concept revamp”, assigning the Guardian persona to a new character, Jake Jordan, the “Manhattan Guardian”. Jordan was an ex-cop, and was hired by the tabloid newspaper “The Manhattan Guardian” as a kind of “superhero/reporter”. He’d go about the DC Universe foiling various criminals, the newspaper would get stories via the Guardian uniform’s built-in body cameras and microphones. (Obviously relevent today, yes? What with modern policing methods under scrutiny, and various police departments across the country experimenting with the idea of all cops on their forces wearing bodycams. “Sci-Fi” is sometimes refered to as “speculative fiction” for a reason.)
The original Jim Harper and the latest Jake Jordan have one thing in common: They are “Normal Humans of Exceptional Skill”. Natural athletes and fighters, both with aptitudes that make them very good “detectives”. The “clones” of Jim Harper up the ante by also having superhuman-level reflexes, stamina, agility, and resiliency, coupled with deeper training in tactics.
HeroClix? So far, we have a Unique version of the Jake Jordan Guardian from the DC Comics HeroClix COLLATERAL DAMAGE set (2006). Still solid, but they could do more with Jake Jordan, as well as introduce a Jim Harper version. It’d be cool to get “Standard/Prime” versions.
EDIT (2015-02-13): Idea occurred tome today. Although I don’t like “kid sidekicks”, and I definitely don’t like a gaggle of the runts, like Guardian’s “Newsboy Legion”, I wouldn’t mind seeing them *IF* they try to do something along the lines of “Golden Age Era Guardian with Newsboy Legion attachable 3D Bystanders”. In other words, treat them like Toyman’s toys, or Superior Spider-Man’s Spider-Bots, or Batman’s “Flocks of Bats”.