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Dick Kulpa as ALDER-MAN

ALDER-MAN, aka cartoonist Dick Kulpa, is shown “lifting” a disassembled statue in Rockford, Illinois.

I’d ended “Part 5” of my history on a cliffhanger: A driverless car, enveloped in flame, was moving under its own power into a major thoroughfare — and cars were whizzing through at speeds in excess of 50 MPH! The only person close enough to have any hope of stopping this…was me!

Time was running out — fast! “How much gas is in that gas tank, ” I asked, (I don’t recall the driver’s response.) An imminent image of a dozen or more cars suddenly smashing and spinning into each other flashed into my mind, and I had to act.

Moving in front of the vehicle, I sought to stop its forward progression. No dice. Heat pressure in its standard transmission engaged the car’s mechanism into “drive”. Only Superman (or another car) could stop it…and that’s when I learned I WASN’T Superman — the hard way. I actually briefly regretted not having my “CountyMan” costume on at the time, though I wished I could have turned into the Flash and gotten the H— out of there FAST!

The CEO of the entire conglomerate that owned Testors was in town when this cover appeared on newsstands. A case of great timing.

This major front page story featuring a Dick Kulpa superhero appeared on newsstands the day before this incident.

However, and as the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards would say…”There is but ONE last chance!” I had to, ulp… jump into that pile of flame and smoke and hit the brakes. “This,” I figured, “has to work.” Quickly computing the probability of this thing blowing up in my face, I came up with “100%”. Flames were belching and smoke was everywhere, but visions of crippled people, cars — and especially kids — drove me forward. Cross traffic was moving way too fast to try to stop at that time of evening.

A fast “goodbye, family” prayer played through my brain, then pending business took over.

Opening the passenger door, I jumped inside, and my foot found a pedal — the car’s clutch. With a “sssss”, the car suddenly stopped, as I’d either disengaged the transmission or alleviated the pressure on it. I stayed on that clutch until firemen arrived.

The local weekly ran a huge story about it with a few inaccuracies, since the car had advanced to the foot of the intersection, not into it. No traffic was stopped. Also, a fireman, not a passerby, pulled me out. But mainstream press ignored it altogether. Already a well-known “unconventional” politician, I’d JUST had a mainstream daily front page article appear the day before, unveiling my latest super hero, Gangbuster, and perhaps this seemed just too coincidental.

Regardless, God does know, and this event changed my life. I found out who I really was that evening, and that beyond my fictional world of comic strips and super heroes, I was “for real.”

I saved a few lives that day.

Newspaper article about Dick Kulpa

Newspaper article appeared in the weekly newspaper.

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