One Panel #324-326: Strip Survey (1941, Part 2)

Continuing our survey of the contents of what would become DC Comics, as things sit in January 1941...
From Red Torpedo: "The Spies on the Junk" by Henry Kiefer (as Drew Allen), Crack Comics #11 (March 1941)
What does the Red Torpedo do? Just read the tin! You know when you're just throwin' darts at submarines in your dreams. That's CRACKED! Well, Crack. And what else was featured in Crack Comics?

Black Condor, by Will Eisner and Lou Fine, was usually the top story, if not necessarily the cover
Space Legion, a sort of Flash Gordon-type strip, by Vernon Henkel
Wizard Wells, Miracle Man of Science, by Henry Campbell and Henry Weston Taylor
Alias the Spider, an early costumed archer, by Paul Gustavson
The cross-dressing hero Madam Fatal, by Art Pinajian
Tor, Magic Master, by Fred Guardineer (think Zatara or Mandrake)
And the Clock, who predates the comics, by George E. Brenner (he gets the cover)

In addition, there are continuing strips for Jane Arden (with paper dolls on each page) and the sporty Ned Brant, and humor strips like Molly the Model, Side Show, Slap Happy Pappy (by Jack Cole), Snappy, and Off the Record. Quality Comics, it seems, is making more of a commitment to comics readers of all genders.

From Batman: "Clayface Walks Again" by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson and George Roussos, Detective Comics #49 (March 1941)

Portia Storme is the first female Robin! She sadly doesn't see any action. Being the next victim of the original Clayface's murder spree (his second appearance), the actress gets a costume to confuse the villain's machinations. So yes, of course, Batman appears in Detective Comics every month. But who else?

Bart Regan, Spy, by Jerry Siegel and Ed Moore
The Crimson Avenger, of course, by Jack Lehti and Charles Paris
Generic detective Larry Steele, by Steve Brodie and Ken Ernst
Ace investigator Speed Saunders, by Ed Winiarski (as Fran Miller, wow, close call)
(Young America's Hero) Cliff Crosby, by Chad Grothkopf
District attorney Steve Malone by Don Lynch
And a feature since issue #1, Slam Bradley, by Jerry Siegel and currently, Howard Sherman

Detective's title and mandate sort of call for a more restricting range. So let's go back to Quality Comics...

From USA, the Spirit of Old Glory: "Introducing USA" by Maurice Gutwirth, Feature Comics #42 (March 1941)

USA, in a sense a female version of Uncle Sam, has a strong claim to being the first super-powered heroine of DC's shared universe. Replacing Ace of Space in Feature for a brief 7-issue stint, this heroine had a bulletproof flag that would droop to warn her of danger, and a torch that could shoot kinetic energy. Her origins go back to the sewing of the flag by Betsy Ross, upon which she died racing excitedly into the freezing rain to tell others about. Her spirit was put in a locket by Divine decree, and was only found and opened on the eve of WWII. Just in time to kick Nazi butt. So what else was, well, featured in Feature Comics?

Doll Man, by John Celardo, was the top feature and usually made the cover
Rance Keane, adventurer and treasure hunter, by William Smith
Zero, the Ghost Detective (a ghost breaker, not a dead man, though this issue has sent him to a Flash Gordon future), by Toni Blum and Witmer Williams
Sailor Dusty Dane, by Vernon Henkel
Captain Bruce Blackburn, Counterspy, by Harry Campbell
The jungle action of Samar, by Nick Cardy
Reynolds of the Mounted (police) by Art Pinajian
Rusty Ryan of Boyville, by Paul Gustavson
And Spin Shaw of the Naval Air Corps, by Clark Williams

Like Crack, there are plenty of humor strips in there as well: Big Top, Poison Ivy (the Mighty Mite, no relation), Lala Palooza, Homer Doodle and Son, Nippie, and Mickey Finn.

4 comments:

Brendon Wright said...

Wow! The 100% red on that top pic is magic!

Siskoid said...

Like candy.

Brendon Wright said...

I know it's really, REALLY awful of me, but I look at newer comics with their truly superior, high quality printing and their (fuzzy) photoshop colouring and I feel my nose turning up like some kinda snob's nose... these old textured prints bring out the goose bumps in me though.
More the "Silver Age" letter press printing rather than the really, really vintage 30's stuff.

I wonder if any of our tastes are actually objective or if they're all formed by environment.
I bet folks today look at 60's letterpress comics and go "yuk - Dots???" Can't believe they would, myself.
If dots weren't brilliant, there wouldn't have been a Harvey comics character devoted to 'em....

Siskoid said...

It's nostalgia talking, but there's nothing wrong with having a preference. Similarly, computer coloring isn't better than newsprint dot matrix. It's just different, and suited to different art. Personally, I dislike it when they redo the coloring on an old comic for reprint purposes. The art just isn't suited to it.

Just like I can enjoy a black and white multi-camera Doctor Who serial, it doesn't mean I don't like the colorful HD stories told by New Who. Or vice-versa. Just like I can like Shakespeare AND a postmodern novel that came out this year.

 

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