One Panel #188-190: Quality Takes a Crack at Mystery Men

This week really belongs to Will Eisner...
From The Black Condor: "The Man Who Can Fly Like a Bird" by Will Eisner and Lou Fine, Crack Comics #1 (May 1940)

Though Quality Comics has a number of titles out, jumping on the superhero bandwagon seemed to require the release of new books (watch for another cover-dated June 1940). Quality wasn't about to put a stop to the adventure, detective and science fiction strips in their other publications. The Clock in fact moves over to the now amusingly titled Crack, where he is joined by several new costumed heroes, including the Red Torpedo, Alias the Spider, the infamous cross-dressing Madam Fatal, and the one hero to really make a difference in the DC Universe to come, Black Condor. In his very first appearance, see how he was dressed in red, not in blue, and from the panel chosen, kind of looks like he runs with his arms flapping, going ka-kaa ka-kaaa like a madman.

From Espionage Starring the Black X: "Mission to Finland" by Will Eisner, Smash Comics #10 (May 1940)

Smash Comics does feature obscure costumed heroes like Invisible Justice and Bozo the Robot, but for the most part, it's ace reporters, sports stars, biplane pilots and detectives. And spies! Espionage was actually based on newspaper reports, so the giant bear is doubtless representative of the Soviet Union, and not a real-life kaiju.

From Doll Man: "The Sins of Anton Bock" by Will Eisner and Lou Fine, Feature Comics #32 (May 1940)

Finally, over in Feature Comics, we had Doll Man. I bet that shark is just a tiny baby, but everything was a threat to Doll Man. He was the only mystery man in Feature, at this point, the rest of the book filled with swashbucklers, jungle men, ghost detectives, pilots, cowboys, spies, and Mounties. Although you might count "The Voice", who projected his voice to snare criminals into his clutches.



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