Real Name

Harry Barnes

First Appearance

East Village Other (July 1968)

Original Publisher

East Village Other

Created by

Manuel "Spain" Rodriguez


Trashman is a hero of the working classes and champion of the radical left causes. The Trashman stories are set in a dystopian near-future America which, after having been ravaged by nuclear weapon attacks, has become a fascist police state, with "vast urban conglomerations. Social ferment [has] divided the land into a patchwork of virtually self-governing areas."

Mild mannered auto mechanic Harry Barnes turned to a life of petty crime after finding his wife murdered in their home by Gestapo-like soldiers. As Barnes flees capture by the police, a mysterious stranger in a hooded robe calling himself "Citizen X" appears and leads him down a hidden passageway to a secret underground installation. There, Barnes is told he was chosen by the mysterious and elusive "Sixth International", an underground anarcho-Marxist organization, to be trained as a master of the "para-sciences" and use these powers to fight the oppression of the fascist governments of the world.

Trashman is typically cast as the defender of the working-class masses against the tyranny of fascist police/military forces, agents of governmental oppression, and the plots of the rich and powerful to oppress the common people. He is depicted as a strong, rugged, black-clad militant figure, with dark hair and beard and eyes always in shadow, who wields conventional military weapons such as machine guns, pistols, daggers and explosives in addition to his super powers.

Powers and Abilities

"Harry Barnes, known to the world as Trashman, trained by the elusive Sixth International as a master of the para-sciences, is able to change his molecular structure or decipher a crack in the sidewalk" (quote from Trashman's first comic strip in East Village Other).

Trashman's powers include superhuman strength, stamina, speed, agility, reflexes, equilibrium and durability. He is not invulnerable to harm, but his powers usually enable him to avoid being wounded or killed by conventional weapons. He also has the ability to "shape-shift", or alter his shape and molecular structure to any desired form, including non-organic ones (For example, he once shifted himself into the shape of a copy of the East Village Other). He retains his mental abilities even while shifted, and can change back to human form at will.

Trashman also has a power called "Random Alert Factor", based on the fictional "science of numantics." One of the principles of numantics is that from observing "random" phenomena, "a general pattern may be deduced." Trashman is tuned into this mode of perception, giving him a synchronicity-based precognition/clairvoyance, of seemingly unrelated information by making observations of random (complex) phenomena.


  • Common with "underground comix" of the 1960s and 70s, East Village Other did not include a proper copyright notice on its issues (in fact, they never had a copyright notice at all) and thus, because of copyright law at the time, became public domain upon release.
  • Characters regularly break the "fourth wall" boundary, typical of post-modern art. In one exchange with another character, Trashman admits he is a comic book character.

See Also

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