Thursday, March 21, 2013

New Beginning

For anyone who is interested, I have resurrected this project over on  It's a purely visual thing now, which fits much better with my schedule.  Hop over and check it out!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The End

As my loyal reader(s) will have noticed, this blog hasn't been updated in months.  Alas, it's not going to be, due to one big setback and a number of other circumstances.

The main reason the blog stopped updating is that I lost a file that had about fifty reviews in it.  Needless to say, I wasn't about to go back and re-read that many Golden Age comics.  Once is quite enough, thank you!  I also didn't want to forge ahead, leaving a months-long gap of unreviewed material. 

To add to that, I've been prioritizing things in my life.  I'm spending more time with my family, and putting the bulk of my focus into writing.  I plan on releasing my first novel ('Jack Manley and the Warlord of Infinity') some time this year on a digital platform, probably Amazon, and naturally that's taking up a lot of my time.

So after months of thought on the matter, I am retiring Comics Odyssey.  It may return as an image-based tumblr some time down the track, but this site is dead.  I will leave it up, as I feel like it's a good repository of info on just what can be found in the comics of the 1930s, but there won't be any more posts.

Thanks to everyone who commented, and all my readers.  Hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

July 1940: Hit Comics #3

Cover by Lou Fine

'Casey Jones' (by Munson Paddock): It's the final appearance of Casey Jones, our one and only train-driving hero. The freight business isn't exactly rife with excitement, so I'm not surprised that this is the final installment. In this story, Casey is carrying some valuable cargo, and must deal with saboteurs. This is exactly the same plot as in last issue, which highlights just how limited the railroad setting is.

In other stories:

'Hercules' (by Dan Zolnerowich)
infiltrates the Burns Koffin Gang, and smashes it from the inside. 'X-5 Secret Agent' (by Courtney Thompson) rescues an enemy agent who refused to steal from the US government. 'Jack and Jill' (possibly by John Lindermayer) are hosting their Aunt Agatha, who turns out to be a jewel thief in disguise. 'The Red Bee' (possibly by Charles Nicholas) investigates some crooks who are using city supplies to build private residences. 'The Strange Twins' (by S.M. Iger and Alex Blum) face off against each other in India, where Rod Strange is running an opium ring. 'Bob and Swab' (by Klaus Nordling) deal with spies who are sending naval information to foreign submarines. 'The Old Witch' (by Pierre Winter) tells a story about ghostly cavaliers who return and manipulate a girl into committing murder. 'Blaze Barton' (by Henry Kiefer) makes a trip to the Earth's core, where he helps a society of beautiful women in their war against the hideous Core-Creatures. And 'Neon the Unknown' (by S.M. Iger and Alex Blum) goes looking for a missing explorer in a lost underground prehistoric world.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

July 1940: Crack Comics #5

'The Black Condor' (by Lou Fine): A man calling himself the Sapphire King is using giant eagles to kidnap sailors, so that he can use them to retrieve sapphires from a pool inhabited by a deadly giant octopus. The Black Condor puts a stop to the whole operation, but sadly never tangles with the octopus.  He does totally punch out a giant eagle, though.  And as always, it looks fantastic. I just recently discovered that Lou Fine was Jack Kirby's favourite comic artist, and it's a title well earned.

'The Clock' (by George Brenner): The Clock must capture the Jay-Bird, a criminal who flies by means of a cable attached to a plane overhead. It's an absurd premise, but I'm quite taken with the way the Jay-Bird just swoops in, guns people down, and swoops away again. He's audacious! And a bit crap! But it's a lovable combination.

In other stories:

'The Red Torpedo' (by Henry Kiefer)
battles the Lone Shark, a pirate who is robbing ships single-handedly with his technology. 'Madam Fatal' (by Art Pinajian) helps a circus that is up to its neck in debt. In 'The Space Legion' (by Vernon Henkel), Rock Braddon stops a revolt on Mars. 'Alias the Spider' (by Paul Gustavson) deals with a mad scientist who is experimenting on young girls to make them deformed and super-strong. 'Lee Preston of the Red Cross' (by Bob Powell) is shot down behind enemy lines, and earns her freedom by flying wounded general to hospital. And 'Wizard Wells, Miracle Man of Science' (by Harry Francis Campbell) takes on some racketeers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

July 1940: Smash Comics #14

 Cover by Gill Fox

'Espionage starring the Black X' (by Will Eisner and Dan Zolnerowich): The Black X quits as a spy because he is in love with the sinister Madame Doom. As fate would have it, at the same time she is building an army of slaves who are willing to drink explosives and turn themselves into suicide bombers. The Black X eventually comes to his senses and stops the plot, but he can't stop Madame Doom from killing herself to avoid capture. It's more good stuff from Eisner, who somehow manages to sell the idea that X has really quit, and provides some genuine pathos in the conclusion. Zolnerowich turns in some good art as well, with a very capable Eisner impression.

'The Ray' (by Lou Fine): Ray Terrill is a reporter, who gains amazing light-based powers when he is on a hot air balloon that passes through a cosmic storm. His first adventure involves stopping some crooks from stealing an explosive formula, and it's not particularly exciting. But the art by Lou Fine is great, especially in the origin sequence.

In other stories:

'Magno' (by Paul Gustavson)
battles a disgraced physics teacher who has a paralyzer ray. 'Abdul the Arab' (by Bob Powell) uncovers some traitors who are giving information to the enemy of a British colonel. 'Clip Chance' (by George Brenner) competes in a car race. 'Wings Wendall of the Military Intelligence' (by Vernon Henkel) enters Nazi territory to recover some papers. 'Invisible Justice' (by Art Pinajian) deals with some crooks who are mining helium to sell to other countries. 'Chic Carter, Ace Reporter' (by Vernon Henkel) goes in search of a missing explorer, who has gone crazy. 'The Purple Trio' (by S.M. Iger and Alex Blum) deal with a spy who is disrupting shipping near Turkey. And 'Bozo the Robot' (by George Brenner) tackles a mad scientist who has created a monster out of dead body parts (like Frankenstein).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

July 1940: National Comics #3

Cover by Lou Fine

'Uncle Sam' (by Will Eisner and Dave Berg): Uncle Sam stops a dictator named Yiffendi from taking over the Philippines. Sam does his usual routine of gentlemanly invincibility, smashing Yiffendi's army without ever losing his cool. Much like Bugs Bunny he defies every law of storytelling, but somehow it still works.

In other stories:

'Prop Powers' (by Toni Blum and possibly Witmer Williams)
is caught in a war between rival air transport companies. 'Sally O'Neill, Policewoman' (by Toni Blum and Chuck Mazoujian) stops some jewel thieves. 'Kid Dixon' (by George Tuska) goes to New York, and through a series of unlikely events becomes the heavyweight boxing champion. 'Merlin the Magician' (by Dan Zolnerowich) deals with a crooked orphanage. 'Wonder Boy' (by Toni Blum and John Celardo) beats up a lot of South American natives to rescue a lost expedition. 'Cyclone' (by Henry Kiefer) explores Planet X, and awakens an ancient pharaoh bent on destroying his people. 'Pen Miller' (by Klaus Nordling) stops a murder syndicate that has been hired to wipe out the witnesses against a racketeer. 'Paul Bunyan' (by Herman Bolstein and John Celardo) deals with an evil lumberjack who is trying to steal an old man's gold mine. And 'The Kid Patrol' (by Charles Nicholas) deals with some kidnappers who are after their rich friend Percy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

July 1940: Feature Comics #36

Cover possibly by Gill Fox

'The Doll Man' (by Will Eisner and Lou Fine): A mad scientist who is collecting brains decides that he needs the Doll Man's, and he sends one of his lobotomised slaves to capture him. What follows is a creepy tale, with art from Eisner and Fine providing just enough grotesque detail.

'Samar' (possibly by Chuck Mazoujian): This story is something else. Samar finds himself captured by a society of Amazons, where the women rule and the men are slaves. By the time Samar is through with the place, the men are back on top. Not only that, he promises to return to see the former queen "when she has learned her lesson". There's even a shot of one of the women lying protrate with the crotch torn out of her dress. This is pretty bad no matter what era it was made in.

In other stories:

'Rance Keane' (by William A. Smith) deals with a doctor who has given his anti-cancer serum to a crime syndicate. 'Reynolds of the Mounted' (by Art Pinajian) captures the head of a narcotics ring. 'Spin Shaw of the Naval Air Corps' (by Bob Powell) defends the air mail service in South America from saboteurs, one of whom is named "Greg Rucker". 'Rusty Ryan of Boyville' (by Paul Gustavson) rescues a wealthy young boy from kidnappers. 'Dusty Dane' (by Vernon Henkel) is captured by a German-looking guy and forced to join the crew of his ship. 'The Voice' (by Stan Aschmeier) investigates the murders of radio personalities, all of whom were killed by their boss for insurance money. 'Captain Bruce Blackburn, Counterspy' (by Harry Francis Campbell) stops some spies from stealing an experimental motor. And 'Zero, Ghost Detective' (by Dan Zolnerowich) helps a girl whose grandfather's ghost is trying to take her to the afterlife with him.