MARVEL COMIC #444: Captain America Comics #52
DATE: January 1946
PUBLISHER: Complete Photo Story Corp.
CONTENTS: Cover by Alex Schomburg; “The Case Of The Telepathic Typewriter” (Captain America story), written by Bill Finger, pencilled and maybe inked by Vince Alascia; “The Cat-Man” (Human Torch story), drawn by Allen Bellman; “Future Alliance” (text story); “The Hermit’s Heritage!!” (Captain America story), maybe written by Bill Finger, pencilled by Vince Alascia, inked by Al Gabriele. Editor: Stan Lee.
CREATOR NOTES: Allen Bellman draws this month’s Human Torch story, and Al Gabriele comes on board for a couple of issues to help out with inks.
I think this might be a sweet spot: the cookie-cutter WWII stories are done forever, but nobody’s quite sure what else to do with superheroes yet, so we’re getting quirky, experimental stories until things settle down. It won’t last long, but for now, things are interesting.
In the first Captain America story (a two-parter), an author creates a radio show about a monster with the bizarrely unimaginative name Am.
Does Joss Whedon know about this?
Am becomes a hit— such a hit that he comes to life. Know how? So many people listened to the radio show that the combined energy of their thought waves made Am real. Yep, that’s the entire explanation. In an era when seemingly mystical villains were usually unmasked as Scooby-Doo-style villains, Bill Finger casually drops thought-wave energy-manifestations into a story as if it requires no justification.
Do Alan Moore and Grant Morrison know about this?
Am, who’s more or less an archetypal hunchback-type monster, can’t be stopped by weapons, because “nothing physical can destroy an idea!”. Pretty heady for 1945. Am falls in with some gangsters and goes the usual monster route of trying to make a girl love him, until finally, Cap and Bucky land on a simple solution to Am’s problems: since he exists only as a fictional character, he can simply be rewritten to be handsome. Everybody wins. I’m making this story sound cooler than it is— but still, I’ll take more stories like this.
In the second Captain America story, a hobo turns out to be a formerly successful artist, which leads to all sorts of goofy criminal scheming and a bunch of hobos going on a field trip to a museum. Meanwhile, the Human Torch and Toro fight Cat-Man— basically a male Catwoman, making him one of the rare codenamed supervillain types to have appeared at Marvel so far.
DC COMIC #20: More Fun Vol. 1 #12
DATE: August 1936
PUBLISHER: More Fun Inc.
CONTENTS: Cover by Vin Sullivan; “Easy On The Eyes!” (text article), illustrated by Vin Sullivan, Whitney Ellsworth, Russell Cole, and Joe Shuster; “Sandra Of The Secret Service” by W.C. Brigham; “Spike Spalding” by Vin Sullivan; “Woozy Watts” by Russell Cole; “Jack Woods”, written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by W.C. Brigham; “Ivanhoe”, written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by Raymond Perry; “Don Drake On The Planet Saro”, written by Ken Fitch, drawn by Clem Gretter; “Pep Morgan” by Creig Flessel; “Barry O’Neill And Fang Gow Of China” by Leo O’Mealia; “Talk About Talkies” (text article) by Mary Patrick; “Buckskin Jim” by Tom Cooper; “Pelion And Ossa” by Al Stahl; “Just Suppose”, written and pencilled by Henry Kiefer, inked by A.D. Kiefer; “Brad Hardy” by Tom Hickey; “Fun Club” (letters page); “The Three Musketeers”, written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by Sven Elven; “Batter Up!” by Vin Sullivan; “Dr. Occult The Ghost Detective”, written by Jerry Siegel, drawn by Joe Shuster; “Midshipman Dewey” by Tom Cooper; “Wing Brady” by Tom Hickey; “Along The Main Line” by Tom Cooper; “Magic Crystal Of History” by Homer Fleming; “Sam The Porter” by Russell Cole; “Do You Know?”, pencilled by Henry Kiefer, inked by A.D. Kiefer; “More Fun And Magic” (text article) by Graysten The Magician; “Bob Merritt And His Flying Pals”, written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by Leo O’Mealia; “Little Linda” by Whitney Ellsworth; “In The Wake Of The Wander” (Captain Grim story) by Tom Cooper; “2023 Super-Police”, written by Ken Fitch, drawn by Clem Gretter; “Unc” by Joe Eichberger; “Pirate Gold”, drawn by Sven Elven; “Hubert”, written by J. Muselli, drawn by Bill Patrick; “Calling All Cars”, written by Jerry Siegel, drawn by Joe Shuster; “It’s A Fact”, maybe by Paul Ferrer. Editor: Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. Associate editor: Vin Sullivan. Associate editor: Whitney Ellsworth.
SERIES/CREATOR NOTES: Two familiar faces debut recurring features: Pep Morgan by Creig Flessel, and Pirate Gold by Sven Elven. Two familiar faces take over existing features: Tom Hickey on Brad Hardy, and Homer Fleming on Magic Crystal Of History. Al Stahl ends his short stint on Pelion And Ossa en route to leaving National. A mystery man named Joe Eichberger does his first of a couple of Unc features. And some one-offs from some more regulars. This is arbitrarily the final issue of Volume 1.
It’s been months since I read the last issue. I don’t remember where I left off with anything, but I’m sure that would’ve been just as true if I’d waited only six hours.
Sandra Of The Secret Service: Sandra thwarts Princess Yonda’s guards by claiming to be Princess Yonda, which works until it doesn’t. I think. I’m confused and I don’t understand how 1930s audiences read adventure serials in two-page installments.
Spike Spalding: Spike’s black-caricature friend Pincus has been thrown overboard. But no he hasn’t, because some guy secretly hid him and threw over a bag of meat. Then a Chinese caricature sees Pincus and runs away screaming “GLOST! GLOST!”.
Woozy Watts: Woozy wanders around an island looking for food and failing to communicate effectively with anyone. Then he meets an Oxford English professor and they bond. I’m not sure what the context is for any of this.
Jack Woods: The bad guys waste a page and a half taunting Jack Woods, then have a horse drag him to his apparent death, pending a cliffhanger.
Ivanhoe: The one thing I find interesting about the literary adaptations is how poorly they use their still largely unexplored medium. Based on plot, this should feel action-packed— but all the adaptations use illustrated captions instead of word balloons, which creates a dull, flat, matter-of-fact mood:
Right? No excitement. I wonder why they consistently did that for the literary adaptations. Did they think it seemed highbrow and classy? I think it says a lot about how undeveloped comics were: there were barely any conventional norms to adhere to, barely even any successes to emulate. And just a few years before the Superman-led discovery that comics were well-suited for brightly-colored action, we’re seeing them fail at just that.
Don Drake On The Planet Saro: Don is about to fight a monster. Everybody else escapes. Don continues to be about to fight the monster. Why do so many of the adventure serials have so many filler episodes? It’s not like they have a time quota.
Pep Morgan: In this first installment, Pep convinces his baseball team’s coach to put him in a game, where he makes a big catch and sets himself up for greatness, I guess. I’ll bet next month, he gets a hit. Part three: rounds a base. Part four: runs home. A few hundred installments and we’ve got a game.
Barry O’Neill And Fang Gow Of China: Barry and Le Grand defuse Fang Gow’s dynamite, before coming face to face with Fang Gow himself. I guess that’s a relatively worthwhile cliffhanger. Sets up a huge confrontation between archenemies. Last story was a guy catching a ball.
Bucksin Jim: Some people fight? This whole thing looks like Tom Cooper woke up, drew the two pages in five minutes while he was still groggy, and then went back to sleep.
Pelion And Ossa: The duo get locked out of their house, so Ossa goes down the chimney, only to discover the door was unlocked all along. Isn’t it ironic?
Just Suppose: If the Chinese had been more military-driven in ancient times, Napoleon hypothetically might not have ended up as a big deal. Just Suppose/Imagine That always works best if you imagine it in a Drunk Uncle voice.
Brad Hardy: A dude steps out of a fireball and is like “go away” and then climbs back in his fireball and leaves. Then a high priestess leads Brad and Prince Kardos to rescue a white girl.
The Three Musketeers: Again, an action-packed excerpt is portrayed in the most boring way possible.
Batter Up!: A bunch of gag panels with a common theme of baseball. Did you know single-panel gag comics from the 1930s aren’t funny?
Dr. Occult The Ghost Detective: Having been rechristened Ghost Detective instead of Mystic Detective for some reason, Dr. Occult brings the werewolf he’s captured to the boarding house he’s staying at, only to find that the lady who runs it is a secret werewolf who controls all the derelicts that stay with her. Decently creepy cliffhanger. I’ll take it.
Midshipman Dewey: Our hero’s battle against pirates continues, with the pirates making moves to blow up his ship.
Wing Brady: Another ruggedly handsome action hero gets captured by exotic non-white bad guys. This time he’s imprisoned in a reptile chamber.
Along The Main Line: Our heroes thwart a mail robbery and then get fired. I’m a little lost.
The Magic Crystal Of History: A couple of kids stare into the magic crystal and watch an ancient Greek battle. Feels like an attempt to take the boring storytelling style of the literary adaptations and add audience surrogates to make it more palatable. Still isn’t working.
Sam The Porter: A floor is dirty and everybody yells at everybody else about it until the one black guy gets stuck having to clean it:
Do You Know?: Sort of like fun facts, except more like fun… musings? Speculations? Or Henry Kiefer’s drunk.
Bob Merritt And His Flying Pals: Everybody flies around being boring.
Little Linda: The mayor tries to convince a grouchy old man named Flint to adopt everyone’s fourth or fifth favorite Little Orphan Annie knock-off. Flint angrily refuses, then responds to Linda’s spunk by shouting that he’ll revenge-adopt her whether she likes it or not. Flint’s nephew worries about this because it might block his inheritance; nobody worries about the severe emotional abuse Linda’s about to face.
In The Wake Of The Wander: Captain Grim leads yet another white-people-versus-natives battle, and then signals for help by using Morse code on a gong.
2023 Super-Police: Rex Cosmos almost goes through with his forced wedding to a hag queen, until he sees something weird on the ring and elbows her in the face instead.
Unc: A hunter sends his talking dog to chase after a rabbit, but the rabbit pulls a gun on the dog.
Pirate Gold: In this first installment, a bunch of fancy sailors find an uncharted island that seems to have pirates on it. I foresee a series of slow-moving, unrewarding sword fights.
Hubert: Hubert sees a store that’s on fire and tries to help it by bringing over a sign from a fire sale.
Calling All Cars: Officer Sandy Kean tries to track down the girl who’s been kidnapped by the mysterious Purple Tiger gang, whatever that is. Keen gets a good lead, but a Purple Tiger guy spots him. Cliffhanger.
It’s A Fact: Standard fun facts, instead of weird drunken rambling fun facts.
Still years away from Superman.
MARVEL COMIC #443: Young Allies #18
DATE: Winter 1945
PUBLISHER: Young Allies Inc.
CONTENTS: Cover by Alex Schomburg; “Eeny, Meeny, Miny-Murder!” (Young Allies story), written by Otto Binder, pencilled by Vince Alascia, inked by Al Gabriele; “The Fightin’ Era” (Tommy Tyme story), pencilled by Mike Sekowsky, inked by Frank Giacoia; “Retribution” (text story); “The Mummy Of Death!” (Young Allies story), pencilled by Vince Alascia. Editor: Stan Lee.
CREATOR NOTES: Occasional Timely writer Otto Binder comes on board for the remainder of the series, and with Allen Bellman still sitting out a couple of issues, Timely regular Al Gabriele fills in. Former Young Allies artist Frank Giacoia takes over Tommy Tyme, collaborating with Mike Sekowsky for this issue.
With no more Germans or Japanese left to fight, the Young Allies turn their attention to one of the more whimsically disturbing villains I’ve seen: crime boss Big Boy Bates. His origin: a sociopathic obsession with lollipops:
An obsession that the mentally-challenged Bates carries with him into adulthood, becoming the world’s leading lollipop-fixated crook:
Never wavering from his character game, Bates spends the entire story whining like a man-child and focusing more on lollipops than on his criminal endeavors, while his normal and inexplicably loyal henchmen keep things running. Then someone bets Otto Binder that he can’t make this story any dumber, so he has the Young Allies defeat Bates by beating him in a kite contest.
Everybody knows, dude.
The Young Allies also fight a mummy in their second story, which felt anticlimactic after the Bates fiasco. Meanwhile, Tommy Tyme hears an old guy complain that kids were better back in 1860, so he goes to 1860 and learns that kids were assholes then too. Then an old guy in 1860 says kids were better in 1790, so he goes back again and finds yet more assholes.
The moral of the story is that all kids have always been assholes forever.
DC COMIC #19: New Comics #6
DATE: July 1936
PUBLISHER: National Allied Newspaper Syndicate Inc.
CONTENTS: Cover by Vin Sullivan; “As New As Today!” (text article) by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson; “Captain Jim Of The Texas Rangers” by Homer Fleming; “Don Coyote” by Bill Patrick; “Castaway Island” by Tom Cooper; “Ol’ Oz Bopp” by Russell Cole; “Captain Quick” by Sven Elven; “The Drew Mystery” (Dale Daring story) by Dick Ryan; “Cal ‘N’ Alec” by Bill Patrick; “Sandor And The Lost Civilization” by Homer Fleming; “Worth-While Films To Watch For” (text article) by I.W. Magovern; “Needles” by Al Stahl; “The Radio Dialer” (text article) by A.R. Lane; “Fun Puzzle” (activity page); “Andy Handy” by Leo O’Mealia; “Maginnis Of The Mounties” by Richard Matheson; “Kambalu By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow” (Famous Poems Illustrated story by Henry Kiefer); “Hook, Line And Sinker!” by Vin Sullivan; “She” by Sven Elven; “17-20 On The Black” by Tom Cooper; “Steve Conrad On Dolorosa Isle” by Creig Flessel; “Jibby” by Vin Sullivan; “Slim And Tex” by A. Leslie Ross; “Rusty” by Hal Sherman; “Magic!” (text article) by Andrini The Great; “The Book Shelf” (text article) by Marjorie Knight; “Ray & Gail” by Clem Gretter; “The Vikings” maybe written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by Alex Anthony Blum; “Goofo The Great” by Russell Cole; “King Arthur” story by Rafael Astarita; “Cap’n Spiniker” by Tom Cooper; “A Tale Of Two Cities” by Merna Gamble; “The Golden Dragon” by Tom Hickey; “Federal Men”, written by Jerry Siegel, drawn by Joe Shuster; “It’s A Dern Lie” by Bill Patrick. Editor: Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. Associate editor: Vin Sullivan. Associate editor: Whitney Ellsworth.
SERIES/CREATOR NOTES: Robert Leffingwell brought a couple of his features over to his new publisher, so the Bill Patrick versions get new, less ridiculous names here: Sir Loin Of Beef becomes Don Coyote, and Sagebrush ‘N’ Cactus becomes Cal ‘N’ Alec. Two new recurring features debut: She by series regular Sven Elven, and The Golden Dragon by Tom Hickey (who just took over Wing Brady in More Fun). Hal Sherman’s Rusty ends; Sherman will pop up at Standard and then head back to National in a few years. Richard Matheson takes over Maginnis Of The Mounties, which is the only thing I know about him. Vin Sullivan does a couple of one-shot features, and Chikko Chakko skips a month.
Wow— a single post in December and then my previous one was over a year ago. So much has changed since then. Fortunately, I haven’t grown any wiser, so now that I have some free time, join me as I waste it all on the unfortunately-surviving leftovers of 1936.
Captain Jim Of The Texas Rangers: Cowboys fight outlaws, a girl gets rescued, and then the cliffhanger suggests wolves might liven things up.
Don Coyote: A kid fucks with Don Coyote and his sidekick (now called Hamburger), and then they catch him and fuck back harder. The message is that kids shouldn’t be pricks or else they’ll get the shit kicked out of them.
Castaway Island: Handsome adventurers fight, look for, and get trapped by the bad guy. His name is Blackface, but he’s white, and that’s about as close to non-racist as a comic from 1936 is gonna get.
Ol’ Oz Bopp: I actually appreciated this one. Some guy keeps making bad jokes, and he finally annoys his friends so much that they get rid of him by feigning smallpox.
Maybe I’m just starved for value in a sea of mediocrity, but that’s a fun specific. I like that it’s not even a fake quarantine sign that might have taken effort; it just says “SMALL POX”. Because that’s the sign they put up when someone has smallpox.
Captain Quick: Adventure at sea. Sven Elven somehow makes action-packed fights on boats seem boring.
Dale Daring: Dale and her male friend Dick spy on and then get caught by bad guys. That the titular heroine is not allowed to carry her own story without the help of a man named Dick stood out to me more than any of the boring events themselves.
Cal ‘N’ Alec: Hombres moseying.
Sandor And The Lost Civilization: Fake-Tarzan gets captured, and a pack of wild dogs are gonna go rescue him from a leopard and a lion? Next month’s gonna be a bloodbath.
Needles: Our hero just randomly decides to build a rocket to space so he can visit the sun, and everybody believes him and cheers him on because apparently this is set in a world where everyone is very stupid, and then the rocket doesn’t work.
Andy Handy: Andy Handy spontaneously decides to start a garden, but decides he hates digging, so he goes fishing instead. This is so useless. There’s like a three-panel transition of Andy taking off his jacket and rolling up his sleeve. Leo O’Mealia took the content of an unfunny three-panel gig strip and stretched it out into two pages.
Maginnis Of The Mounties: Maginnis versus fur-jackers. You don’t really see heroic Mountie protagonists in comics anymore.
Famous Poems Illustrated: Why did they always include stuff like this? Did they want to try to claim to be educational or something? No child who read this comic in 1936 was on board to read a Longfellow poem.
Hook, Line And Sinker!: A bunch of single-panel gag strips based on the common theme of fishing. Lots of idiots.
She: Sven Elven’s new adaptation of a novel. A guy goes out to sea. I didn’t pay very close attention and I’m not willing to reread it.
17-20 On The Black: Everybody ends up in Mexico. In just two pages, we get Mexican stereotypes, black stereotypes, and a white character doing a racist Mexican impression.
Steve Conrad On Dolorosa Isle: Steve and his friends get stranded on an island and have to fight “ape-like” natives. Did they intentionally cluster all the racism together?
Jibby: Jibby tells his friend about the evils of money, and then a swarm of kids all beat the shit out of each other to grab a silver dollar. This could be remade as a gritty Hollywood action thriller.
Slim And Tex: Two cowboys are friends. Plus a racist black caricature. They DID cluster all the racism together!
Rusty: Rusty’s attempt to go fishing is thwarted, as seems to be a recurring theme.
Ray & Gail: Ray and Gail look for their Aunt Millie’s map on a boat after she’s been killed by a shark. Then Aunt Millie turns up and doesn’t understand why everybody’s surprised to see her.
The Vikings: I think part of what makes this so boring is that there are no word balloons, just captions, even when there’s dialogue. It’s like reading illustrated prose disguised as a comic, and feels like the worst of both worlds.
Goofo The Great: Goofo is way too proud of and way too direct about his ability to find a variety of things inside a variety of other things.
I appreciate that he’s not even calling it “magic”. He’s just like, yo, gimme a hat, I’ll find ducks in that shit.
King Arthur: King Arthur hangs out. Across the board, these comics do a terrible job of making literary classics seem fun.
Cap’n Spiniker: Captain Spiniker is ornery and inappropriate on an island full of natives. He concludes by heading off on a “by-logic study”, portrayed in the final panel:
A Tale Of Two Cities: I guess Merna Gamble’s art is nice.
The Golden Dragon: In the very first panel of the debut installment, our white protagonists direct racial slurs at the Chinese people who have taken their jobs. Then they beat up a Mongolian and decide to seek the lost treasure of Genghis Khan. These guys are huge dicks.
Federal Men: A tank attacks Washington D.C. and some unspecific invaders try to take over. Steve Carson pops out in the final panel to start punching everybody. The word “brobdingnagian” is used.
It’s A Dern Lie: A man fights a tiger.
More sublime panels from Jimmy Thompson, my favorite unheralded artist of the Golden Age.
From Sub-Mariner Comics #14, Fall 1944.
DC COMIC #18: More Fun #11
DATE: July 1936
PUBLISHER: More Fun Inc.
CONTENTS: Cover by Vin Sullivan; “One Big Happy Family!” (text article) by Vin Sullivan; “Sandra Of The Secret Service” by W.C. Brigham; “Spike Spalding” by Vin Sullivan; “Woozy Watts” by Russell Cole; “Jack Woods”, written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by W.C. Brigham; “Ivanhoe”, written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by Raymond Perry; “Don Drake On The Planet Saro”, written by Ken Fitch, drawn by Clem Gretter; “Barry O’Neill And Fang Gow Of China” by Leo O’Mealia; “Chubby” by Hal Sherman; “Talk About Talkies” (text article) by Mary Patrick; “Firebug” (text story) by Guy Monroe; Spike Spalding story by Vin Sullivan; “Wing Brady” by Tom Hickey; “Along The Main Line” by Tom Cooper; “Sam” (Sam The Porter story) by Russell Cole; “Dr. Occult The Mystic Detective”, written by Jerry Siegel, drawn by Joe Shuster; “The Ole’ Swimmin’ Hole” by Creig Flessel; “Buckskin Jim” by Tom Cooper; “Pelion And Ossa” by Al Stahl; “Imagine That”, pencilled by Henry Kiefer, inked by A.D. Kiefer; “Brad Hardy” by A. Leslie Ross; “Midshipman Dewey” by Tom Cooper; “Fun Mail” (text article); “The Three Musketeers”, written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by Sven Elven; “More Fun And Magic” (text article) by The Wizard Of Biff; “It’s A Fact!”, maybe by Paul Ferrer; “Little Linda” by Whitney Ellsworth; “2023 Super-Police”, written by Ken Fitch, drawn by Clem Gretter; “In The Wake Of The Wander” (Captain Grim story) by Tom Cooper; “Hubert”, written by J. Muselli, drawn by Bill Patrick; “Treasure Island”, written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by Sven Elven; “Calling All Cars”, written by Jerry Siegel, drawn by Joe Shuster; “Bob Merritt And His Flying Pals”, written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by Leo O’Mealia; “G. Wiz” by Hal Sherman. Editor: Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. Associate editor: Vin Sullivan. Associate editor: Whitney Ellsworth.
CANON: Partial canon (Doctor Occult story).
SERIES/CREATOR NOTES: Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, still failing to convince anyone that Superman is a good idea, debut a new recurring feature called Calling All Cars. Tom Hickey makes his comic book debut as the new Wing Brady artist (also debuting in New Comics this month); he’ll go on to a long Golden Age career. Sven Elven’s Treasure Island adaptations come to an end, but he debuts a recurring Three Musketeers adaptation. Sam The Porter, a Russell Cole strip that appeared in New Comics, becomes a recurring feature here. Hal Sherman’s G. Wiz ends, as does A. Leslie Ross’s stint on Brad Hardy; both men still have features in New Comics. Imagine That will revert to its old name, Just Suppose, next issue. Magic Crystal Of History skips this issue, prompting riots.
It’s been a while since I’ve checked in, so I won’t remember where any of the serialized stories are at. Not that I would have anyway.
Sandra Of The Secret Service: Sandra explains to a count and his secret society that she’s impersonating a princess. Then some people attack. I’m not sure who here is a good guy or a bad guy.
Spike Spalding: An evil man with an evil moustache has captured Spike’s offensive black stereotype friend Pincus, who he ties up in a bag and throws overboard. Cliffhanger. I feel like that’s kinda scary for this book’s intended age range. I’d have had a dumb little nightmare.
Woozy Watts: Woozy’s stuck on an island, then finds a note from someone who needs to be rescued, then doesn’t act on it because he’s hungry. In the middle, he hits on a bird:
Jack Woods: Jack versus bandits on a cliff. The bandits seemingly win. Then Jack wakes up and punches a motherfucker.
Ivanhoe: There are monks and stuff, but you didn’t notice because you skipped it because you are a child reading a comic book in 1936 and your goal here is not to read Ivanhoe.
Don Drake On The Planet Saro: The Zetrurians put Don Drake on trial, but offer him freedom if he’ll protect them from the monster that just attacked off-panel who I guess we’ll see next issue. It’d better look cool.
Barry O’Neill And Fang Gow Of China: Barry and his French sidekick Le Grand have escaped from Fang Gow, only to discover a secret map showing Fang Gow’s plan to blow up Paris. Le Grand is like “sacre bleu!”.
Chubby: In this one-off, a fat guy named Chubby gets a call to hang out with a girl, and doesn’t know what to do with her, then gets in a fight with a guy who’s torturing a dog, and hopes his subsequent injuries will impress the girl. Is this supposed to be funny? It’s just sad.
Spike Sullivan: A sad single-panel page in which Spike has failed to grow a flower. There is nothing funny about this.
Wing Brady: Wing passes out in the desert and is rescued by some kindly Arabs who give him a horse and some ammo so he can go rescue a girl.
Along The Main Line: A couple of jerkoffs try to escape a mine.
Sam The Porter: Sam just names foods.
Dr. Occult: Our hero fights a werewolf, which he then brings back with him to the laboratory he apparently has. To be continued. First appearance of Doctor Occult’s butler, Jenkins. I’ll bet he isn’t even named Jenkins. People just call their butlers Jenkins.
The Ole’ Swimmin’ Hole: An illustration of a bunch of young boys, some of them seemingly naked, swimming, with a caption reading “where modesty ain’t no virtue”. I’m uncomfortable.
Buckskin Jim: Buckskin Jim fights a bunch of evil Indians. I don’t think he likes Indians.
Pelion And Ossa: Pelion and Ossa find a dog and wash it. Al Stahl didn’t have a better idea than this.
Imagine That: If different stuff had happened, stuff would be different. Starring George Washington.
Brad Hardy: Brad, Lorraine, and Prince Kardos are menaced by a giant spider. Brad murders the spider, but then Lorraine’s missing and there’s a fireball. It’s just all the things. All the things are happening all at once.
Midshipman Dewey: Dewey fights a pirate and rescues the ship’s captain. But more pirates are coming.
Three Musketeers: What are we, in school?
It’s A Fact!: Illustrated trivia. This was my favorite:
Little Linda: Linda’s been captured by bank robbers, but turns the tide with one of those kids-with-guns moments you’d never get away with now:
Also, I think a certain phrase meant something different back then:
2023 Super-Police: A hag queen is gonna kill one of the main good guys, but agrees to let him live if the other main good guy will marry her. Ends on the brink of a creepy-ass wedding.
In The Wake Of The Wander: Captain Grim is a prisoner of natives, and then I think teams up with them to fight some other guy. I’m a little lost.
Hubert: Hubert uses a scabbard as a makeshift fishing pole and catches a swordfish in it. That’s a little bit funny.
Treasure Island: Everybody’s on a boat. This is as far as the Treasure Island adaptation goes.
Calling All Cars: Siegel and Shuster’s new feature is a little bit nuts. First page: a couple of cops catch a woman speeding and punish her by giving her a spanking. This is presented as a normal thing to do.
Second page: the girl makes her dad bring the cop to his house so he can yell at him. And it’s hinted that she actually has a crush on him. Then crooks break in and kidnap the girl for someone called the Purple Tiger. But then the cops from before show up. Cliffhanger.
Bob Merritt And His Flying Pals: Everybody’s flying to Alaska to look for gold. Good guys. Bad guys. Whole buncha guys.
G. Wiz: Some stupid asshole goes hunting for rabbits but runs from a skunk.
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House ad for Marvel Mystery Comics in the science fiction pulp magazine Marvel Stories #2, November 1940. Art by Carl Burgos.
DC COMIC #17: New Comics #5
DATE: June 1936
PUBLISHER: National Allied Newspaper Syndicate Inc.
CONTENTS: Cover by Whitney Ellsworth; “Bang!” (text article) by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson; “Captain Jim Of The Texas Rangers” by Homer Fleming; “Sir Loin Of Beef”, written by J. Muselli, drawn by Bill Patrick; “Castaway Island” by Tom Cooper; “Ol’ Oz Bopp” by Russell Cole; “Captain Quick” by Sven Elven; “Maginnis Of The Mounties”; “Sagebrush ‘N’ Cactus”, written by J. Muselli, drawn by Bill Patrick; “Sandor And The Lost Civilization” by Homer Fleming; “Sam The Porter” by Russell Cole; “Funny Man” (text story) by Paul Frederick; “King Arthur” by Rafael Astarita; “Rattlesnake Pete” by Boody Rogers; “17-20 On The Black” by Tom Cooper; “Pandora’s Box”, maybe by Henry Kiefer; “Myths Of Gods And Men: Prometheus”, maybe by Henry Kiefer; “Steve Conrad On Dolorosa Isle” by Creig Flessel; “Andy Handy” by Leo O’Mealia; “Stratosphere Special” by Serene Summerfield; “Needles” by Al Stahl; “Brain Teasers” (activity pages); “Rock-Age Roy” by Boody Rogers; “Bugville” by Dick Ryan; “Slim And Tex” by A. Leslie Ross; “Laughing At Life!” by Vin Sullivan; “The Book Shelf” (text article) by Marjorie Knight; “The Radio Dialer” (text article) by A.R. Lane; “Worth-While Films To Watch For” (text article) by I.W. Magovern; “Magic!” (text article) by Andrini The Great; “Famous Poems Illustrated” by Henry Kiefer; “Ray And Gail” by Clem Gretter; “The Vikings”, maybe written by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, drawn by Alex Anthony Blum; “Goofo The Great” by Russell Cole; “A Tale Of Two Cities” by Merna Gamble; “Capt. Spiniker” by Tom Cooper; “The Drew Mystery” (Dale Daring story) by Dick Ryan; “Rusty” by Hal Sherman; “Federal Men”, written by Jerry Siegel, drawn by Joe Shuster; “It’s A Dern Lie” by Bill Patrick. Editor: Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. Associate editor: Vin Sullivan. Associate editor: Whitney Ellsworth.
SERIES/CREATOR NOTES: Four new recurring features debut in this issue: “Steve Conrad On Dolorosa Isle” by Creig Flessel, “Famous Poems Illustrated” by Henry Kiefer, “Rusty” by Hal Sherman, and “Sandor And The Lost Civilization” by Homer Fleming, making his comic book debut. Fleming also takes over Captain Jim, while the very busy Bill Patrick takes over Sir Loin Of Beef, Sagebrush ‘N’ Cactus, and It’s A Dern Lie; a couple of those strips will change their names next month, probably because original creator Robert Leffingwell brought them over to his new publisher. “Stratosphere Special” and “Bugville” both appear for the second and final time; Dick Ryan will stick around, but Serene Summerfield is done with DC and will end up at the Eisner studio. Gordon “Boody” Rogers makes his comic book debut with a pair of one-offs; both features will return exactly once next year, and Rogers is now a cult favorite. A bunch of regulars also do one-offs, Whitney Ellsworth draws the cover instead of Vin Sullivan, and Chikko Chakko does not appear.
Captain Jim Of The Texas Rangers: Captain Jim and Bob chase bad guys in a canyon. Comic book heroes had such boring names before superheroes were invented. Why would I want to read about “Captain Jim” and “Bob”? Nobody’s even trying.
Sir Loin Of Beef: A kid fucks with two guys having an archery contest, and the story ends with them firing a bunch of arrows at him, meaning this lighthearted gag story is immediately followed by a grisly murder.
Castaway Island: Larry and Dougal try to rescue Sally from Blackface. I’m not sure who any of those people are, so you and I are in the same boat.
Ol’ Oz Bopp: Our hero buys meat and then falls asleep. Gag strips are uneventful.
Captain Quick: A bunch of English people chill on a ship and then a Spaniard shows up.
Maginnis Of The Mounties: Maginnis fights fur thieves, and his buddy gets shot.
Sagebrush ‘N’ Cactus: The duo heads into town to try to catch the killer of Pickax Pete. So, nothing happens. It’s like a deleted scene.
Sandor And The Lost Civilization: Sandor is a Tarzan copy, but located in the jungles of India, with the arch-enemy Rajah Marajah. In this debut installment, Sandor kills a tiger and is cornered by the Rajah and his minions. This is going to get so racist so quickly.
Sam The Porter: Speaking of racism, this one-off is about a comically black porter who keeps getting names wrong.
King Arthur: Knights being boring.
Rattlesnake Pete: A one-off about a guy in an Old West town running from bullets that turn out to just be horseflies.
17-20 On The Black: Jim Gale returns to take down the bad guys.
Pandora’s Box/Myths Of Gods And Men: Prometheus: Illustrated mythology.
Steve Conrad On Dolorosa Isle: Steve Conrad and a bunch of supporting characters sail to Dolorosa Isle to take a look around, not really for any reason.
Andy Handy: Homeboy gets rained on. That’s all.
Stratosphere Special: A sci-fi imagining of people landing on the moon in the year 2036. This is kinda fun.
Needles: Needles goes to a doctor who abuses him and leaves him worse off, when all Needles wanted to do was sell him a magazine.
Rock-Age Roy: Basically a prototypical Flintstones character, but dumber.
Bugville: A lot going on here. Lots of talking bugs. Kind of innovative, layout-wise. Sorry to see it go.
Slim And Tex: The pair shoot guns a bunch, and talk about shooting guns.
Laughing At Life!: Some asshole hates that his wife makes him play bridge.
Famous Poems Illustrated: Exactly what it sounds like, kicking off with Longfellow. No kid who bought this comic in 1936 actually read this. I am the first person ever to read it.
Ray And Gail: Sharks just start eating everybody.
The Vikings: Two Vikings fight over who gets to lead the other Vikings.
Goofo The Great: Goofo does magic tricks and then gets angry about carrots being everywhere?
A Tale Of Two Cities: If I were this magazine’s target audience, the literary adaptations would reinforce my impression that novels are boring.
Capt. Spiniker: The captain gets his peg leg stuck in a bottle. I think Captain Spiniker is my favorite New Comics character.
Dale Daring: The titular star is tied up and gets rescued, contributing little of value to her own story.
Rusty: Hal Sherman’s new recurring feature is the latest mischievous-kid comic. In this one, Rusty thinks a woman is calling for help, but it’s just a pirate.
Federal Men: More boat-fighting.
It’s A Dern Lie: Riding horses, shooting injuns.
For no real reason I can think of, I’m slowly finding this more tolerable. Maybe it’s just familiarity kicking in, making it feel slightly less like a hodge-podge of random bullshit. But I still wish I could skip ahead a couple of years.
DC COMIC #16: New Book Of Comics #1
PUBLISHER: unknown (National/DC)
Proto-DC’s second reprint book, following The Big Book Of Fun Comics. I can’t find a record of the exact contents. A second issue of this title will come out in a year or two.