Joe Higgins (Earth-MLJ) (Archie Comics)
The Shield is the name of several fictional patriotic superheroes created by MLJ (now known as Archie Comics). Appearing months before Captain America, the Shield has the distinction of being one of the first superheroes with a costume based upon United States patriotic iconography.
The name was used by MLJ/Archie for four characters. DC Comics' Impact line, which licensed the Archie properties, also used the name for several characters. In 2010, DC announced plans to integrate the Shield and other MLJ characters into the DC Universe, but in 2011 the rights to the characters reverted to Archie Comics. A fourth Shield was introduced in October 2015. information

Publisher: (MLJ Comics) Archie Comics
First appearance: Pep Comics #1 (January 1940)
Created by: Harry Shorten, Irv Novick

In-story information

Alter ego: Joseph "Joe" Higgins
Notable aliases: Shield, The Original Shield
Relatives: Tom Higgins (father, deceased); William Higgins (son); Betty Higgins (wife)
Team affiliations: The Mighty Crusaders
Abilities: Superhuman strength, Great leaping, Invulnerability, Wears an indestructible costume


Alignment: Good
Identity Secret: Secret
Race: Human
Citizenship: American
Marital Status: Married
Occupation: Chemist, F.B.I. Agent


Gender: Male
Height: 182.88 cm
Weight: 102 kg
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Red
Unusual Features:


Universe: Earth-MLJ



Tom Higgins was a scientist working on a means of boosting human performance during World War II. Although he was murdered by foreign agents before he was able to mass produce the formula, his son Joe used the formula on himself. Creating a patriotic themed costume, he avenged his father's death and became an agent for the FBI.
For a time, only the "chief" of the F.B.I. knew of Joe's dual identity. Joe was assigned to work with fellow agent Ju Ju Watson, who became a very good friend of his, but didn't know he was also the Shield.

Dusty, the Boy Detective

One day while Joe was visiting an airfield, a plane on the ground exploded, killing everybody on board, including the father of a little boy named Dusty. Suspecting foul play, Joe and his girlfriend, Betty Warren, snooped around. Betty noticed some thugs tampering around in a hangar. They quickly grabbed her, but Dusty saw the confrontation and came to her rescue. Later, the Shield believed the kid showed "plenty of spunk" in saving Betty, and not only asked him if he wanted to be a detective with him, but also shared his true identity. The newly orphaned boy agreed to be his sidekick, better known as — Dusty the Boy Detective.

Frozen in Time

At one time, the Shield was frozen in suspended animation due to the Eraser's "Ion Weapon," his son, Bill Higgins, found a spare uniform and continued his father's legacy. He fought alongside the Mighty Crusader's as a hero, but his civilian life was difficult, as he would often shuffle from job to job, and never felt worthy of following in his father's footsteps.
When Bill finally asked for help to "cure" his father's condition, the Comet used his "Altroxian Science" to reverse the Ion Weapon's effects, and the original Shield came back to life. With his father in action again, Bill retired his Shield identity and joined the Armed Forces.

The Mighty Crusaders

Joe agreed to join the Mighty Crusaders, replacing his son, and fought alongside his teammates until they disbanded.

Powers and Abilities


  • SHIELD Serum: Joe Higgins' body is infused with the S.H.E.I.L.D. serum affecting his body in numerous ways. According to his father's last words, the word "SHIELD" describes how the serum affects the human body: 
    • Super-Leaping: This powers allows Joe to gain control over his spinal center of his body to allow Joe to jump superhuman distances.
    • Superhuman Strength: This power allows Joe to control his heart and allow for more blood flow to increase the strength of his strikes.
    • Superhuman Reflexes: This power allows Joe to control his nervous system and react more quickly.
    • Enhanced Vision: This powers allows Joe to see more clearer and focus on faraway objects.
    • Superhuman Stamina: This powers allows Joe to control his respiration allowing for extended endurance.
    • Superhuman Durability: This power allows Joe's skin to take a considerable amount of damage even without his suit. 


  • Chemistry

Strength level




  • The Shield Suit: Along with the Shield serum which provided enhanced physicality, the Shield also protected his body with an invulnerable suit. This suit protected the wearer from fire, blunt force and puncture.




  • Joe Higgins is often called, "The Original Shield".
  • Lancelot Strong was the "new" Shield published by Archie in 1959, but he has no connection to Joe Higgins.
  • Although some may regard the Shield derivative of Captain America, in fact he debuted nearly a year before Cap burst onto the scene.