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SuperFriends Comic Book Character
Guardian / Hornblower
Mal (TeenTitans, 52)
Information
Real name: Malcom Duncan
Species: Human
Homeworld: Earth
Universe: Earth-1A
Relatives: Karen Beecher (Girlfriend)
Occupation: Crime Fighter
Base: Gabriel's Horn
Affiliations: Teen Titans
Weaponry: The Gabriel Horn

Teen Titans Team Member

Mal Duncan (TT 44)
Mal the Guardian (TT 44)
Mal the HornBlower (TT -49)

A seemingly ordinary young resident of “Hell’s Corner” in Harlem, Malcolm "Mal" Duncan possessed no special powers beyond his quick wits and pugilistic skills he had developed as an amateur boxer. This along with the Gabriel Horn (which allowed him to open portals and generate sonic blasts) made him a fearsome crime-fighter. He is also an accomplished jazz musician and owns a nightclub named Gabriel's Horn.


Background Information

In the parallel universe of Earth-One, Mal was noticed by the Teen Titans when he saves them from a racist street gang called the 'Hell Hawks' by beating their leader: first in a good ole’ fashion brawl then in the boxing ring. Mr. Jupiter (a friend of Bruce Wayne’s and a mentor and benefactor to the Titans) had sent the teens on a mysterious assignment to 'Hells Corner.' Mal and the Titans then drove the thugs away, forming a fast friendship in the process. Soon after, he was recruited by the Titans and entered into Mr. Jupiter’s survival training program located in a secret facility in an unlisted 13th floor of his skyscraper complex. It would not be long however, before Mal began to doubt his abilities when he compared himself to his enhanced colleagues.[1]

As fate would have it, a few months after Mal joined the Titans, they took a hiatus from working together leaving Mal to contemplate his place on the team. During this period of Titans inactivity, Mr. Jupiter closed down his training program and Mal was selected to keep watch over the group’s headquarters and equipment until such time as they should resume operations. It was during this period that Mal met Karen Beecher, a New York librarian. The two would soon fall in love.

About two years later the Titans receive an emergency signal, which Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl and Speedy to their former headquarters, it turns out to be a trap set the deranged Dr. Light. He intends to use the Titans as bait to trap the Justice League. He captures Robin and Wonder Girl, then stops Kid Flash and Speedy before they can warn their adult counterparts of his plans. Mal, realizing that he is unable to defeat, Dr. Light on his own, heads back to the Teens lair to search for something useful. While there, he finds an exo-skeleton (which Robin had in his locker)[2] and the Guardian's costume from the Titans' storeroom and becomes the new Guardian. Now costumed, he is able to free his fellow heroes, defeat Doctor Light and revive the Titans team once again.[3]

Shortly after assuming the Guardian mantle, Mal almost dies in an explosion. As he slips into unconsciousness, he believes that he fights and defeats Azrael (aka the Angel of Death). He believes this to have been a mere hallucination until he awakens to find himself in possession of a mystic horn given him by the angel Gabriel. By defeating Azrael, Mal has won the right to life, but if he should lose a fight—to anyone—he must die. Gabriel's horn, when blown, gives him unspecified powers to use whenever the odds are against him in battle. Now, armed with the horn, Mal gives up his identity as the Guardian and assumes the name Hornblower. Mal is reconciled with the team, and joins Roy Harper's rock band, Great Frog. Bruce Wayne also agrees to finance a new Teen Titans headquarters.[4]

After disappearing for a short time with his mystic horn in the guise of the ‘Hornblower’, he returns to his identity as the Guardian claiming that people know that Mal Duncan and Hornblower are one and the same.[5]

Soon after an adventure with the Titans West team, the Titans disbanded once more. [6]


Powers and Abilities

Abilities


Equipment


Notes

  • Mal Duncan made his first appearance in Teen Titans, Vol. 1 #26 (April, 1970) and was created by Robert Kanigher and Nick Cardy.
  • His surname 'Duncan' is revealed in Teen Titans Vol 1 #44 (November, 1978) and his formal first name 'Malcolm' is revealed in Teen Titans, Vol. 1 #45 (December 1976). Prior to these issues, he is known simply as 'Mal'.


Gallery


References

  1. As seen in Teen Titans, Vol. 1 #26 (April, 1970).
  2. See Batman, Vol. 1 #192 (June, 1967) for the origin of the exo-skeleton and how Robin came into its possession.
  3. As revealed in Teen Titans, Vol. 1 #44 (November, 1976). Mal’s debut as the Guardian was retconned in Secret Origins, Annual #3 (1989) by George Pérez and Tom Grummett. In this comic, instead of becoming the second Guardian, he became the Herald. He did not find the exo-skeleton or the Guardian uniform when he went back to the Lair. Instead he retrieved the Gabriel Horn and assumed the identity of the 'Herald'.
  4. As revealed in Teen Titans, Vol. 1 #45 (December 1976)
  5. As revealed in Teen Titans, Vol. 1 #49 (August, 1977).
  6. As revealed in Teen Titans, Vol. 1 #50-53 (1977-78).