Friday, December 10, 2010

February 1936: New Comics #4

Cover by Vin Sullivan
Things are looking up here, because it only took me one hour to knock this sucker over.  Too bad this featured one of the worst things I've seen in these books yet, the short story 'Great Guns'.  It's about an American airplane mechanic in World War I who is forced to become a fighter pilot despite being a conscientious objector and complete pacifist.  He starts out by using his skills to down enemy planes without killing their pilots, but then the question is raised: what if his comrades are killed while he's doing these stunts?  I was getting interested in the moral dilemma at this point, but I should have known better, because it all ends "happily ever after" when the guy embraces violence and starts shooting the enemy down by the dozen, in particularly graphic detail.  Hooray for war, and killing Germans!  Yep, it's a different time, all right.

Russell Cole does a few strips here under the pseudonym Alger.  I'd noticed him over in More Fun Comics #9, but here his style is much more distinctive and enjoyable.  I'll keep an eye on him, because he looks like one of the better cartoonists of the current DC crop.

There are lots of comings and goings with the strips at this time.  'Inch' (a standard kid shenanigans humour strip) makes its first and last appearance, as does the similar 'Chubby' (as you may have guessed, one of the kids is fat).  An adaptation of 'A Tale of Two Cities' begins.  'Ol' Oz Bopp' and 'Goofo the Great' are new strips by the aforementioned Alger, and among the funnier ones.  'Jungle Boy' is a new strip in the vein of The Jungle Book.  'Slim and Tex' is a strip with cowboys vying over a girl.  'Maginnis of the Mounties' is new; he's a Mountie having adventures and stuff.  'Dale Daring' is also new, with a woman as the main character. Naturally she gets kidnapped, because that's what women do.

Among the casualties to get these new strips in are: 'Dare-Devil Dunk', 'Wing Walker', and a bunch of the text articles.  Now I'll never know if Wing Walker rescued that girl from the Nipper!

Steve Carson isn't quite so badass in 'Federal Men' this month, but he does stab a dude with his own knife.  That's what Steve Carson calls a slow day.

And just to put things into historical perspective, Errol Flynn is described in the movie section as a newcomer, having just starred in Captain Blood.

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