Like many pulp heroes of the 1940s, Spy Smasher started out as a roguish playboy named Alan Armstrong, but unlike his pulp counterparts of a decade or so before, Armstrong actually had a defined cause to strive against. He wasn't roaming blindly into the night, avenging the random wrongs of common folk. As the U.S. moved full-steam toward World War I, Spy Smasher arrived on the scene to, well, smash spies.
Spy Smasher made his debut in Whiz Comics #1 in 1940, where he was in good company with other up and coming superheroes like Ibis the Invincible, Golden Arrow and Captain Marvel.
As a man of relative wealth and privilege, why would Alan Armstrong embark on such a thankless, perilous life mission, you ask? The answer's simple. He wanted to impress his future father-in-law. At the time of his Whiz Comics debut, Armstrong was engaged to the lovely Eve Corby, whose father was an admiral in the intelligence division of the U.S. Navy. Go figure. On a hunch and breach of security, Admiral Corby decided to confide in Armstrong about a string of "accidents" he supposed were related to spy activity.
Armstrong, whose money afforded him the ability to build all kinds of gadgets and weaponry such as the Gyrosub (an autogyro/submarine), decided to take on the bad guys himself. For years, he was quite successful, and only Eve knew his true identity.
Spy Smasher was rewarded for all his efforts by receiving his own comic title, which ran for 11 issues between 1941 and 1943, as well as a Republic Pictures 12-part serial starring Kane Richmond and Marguerite Chapman. In 1966, the serial became a feature-length, made-for-TV movie called Spy Smasher Returns.
As the fearless fighter of international foes is now the property of DC Comics, you can expect him to resurface from time to time in a few of their titles. In 1997, he entered the world of modern comics with a cameo in The Power of Shazam #24.