Tuesday, December 21, 2010

October-November 1936: New Comics #10; More Fun Comics #16

Cover by Whitney Ellsworth

It's now issue #10, and New Comics has really settled into a holding pattern.  The only new strip is 'Red', a gag strip about a kid who plays football instead of getting his mum's groceries, and from what I gather it's a one-off bit of filler.  And apparently we've seen the last of 'Ray and Gail' by Clem Gretter, which was a fairly nondescript adventure strip about two people going off on a cruise ship and getting involved in shenanigans regarding a treasure map.  Can't say I'll miss it.

'Federal Men' (by Siegel and Shuster) is back in fine form with this installment, in which a giant robot just totally wrecks a major American city, only for Steve Carson to take control of it, pilot it to the island of the baddies, then get involved in a massive fight with two other giant robots.  Siegel and Shuster are awesome.  Every other strip at this time is dealing with material that's not at all removed from the films and film serials of the day.  Siegel and Shuster are doing the sort of gonzo stuff that movies just weren't capable of, and they're doing it with energy and enthusiasm.

And as a last note, there's an eyebrow-raising bit of dialogue in this month's 'Captain Spiniker'.  It's a strip by Tom Cooper, about two rival sea captains constantly finding ways to annoy each other.  Spiniker has this thing where he intentionally mangles Captain Sternpipe's name.  In this issue, he calls him Sperm-Face.  It's either a case of words not meaning what they now mean, or Tom Cooper sneaking a fast one through.  Either way, it certainly got my attention.

Cover by Vin Sullivan

Holy shit, what happened to 'Doctor Occult'?  I miss one month, and the strip has completely changed.  In the last one I read he was a suit-wearing investigator, getting involved with werewolves and other sorts of low-level supernatural stuff.  Now he's off in Egypt, wearing a cape and using a magic belt, and he's preparing to face an alien stranded on Earth who has repeatedly brought down human civilisation.  Siegel and Shuster are bringing a little of their 'Federal Men' magic over here, and it's very welcome.

'Mark Marson', by Tom Hickey, debuted in the last issue but this is my first exposure to it.  He's a future policeman, investigating the kidnapping of a scientist by the alien Red People.  It's as boring as a strip about a future policeman can get, but the main bad guy does use a "space-a-phone" to communicate with his henchmen, so it has that.

There's also an ad for Detective Comics in this issue, but my sources tell me it didn't go on sale for another three months.  Early advertising, or a problem behind the scenes?  I don't know, but I'm impatiently waiting for it to get here.

1 comment:

  1. See my previous comment re:Doc (yes, that's his given name) Occult - even if you had the previous issue you'd still be lost. However, NOW you know why the character has lasted - his nifty new getup and powers makes him, in some people's minds, the very first costumed superhero, predating Superman by over a year. Add that bit of history to the fact that he's really the only other DC character from the pre-Superman era who can legitimately mix it up with the superhero set and you can guess why he's the one writers reach for when they want a little nostalgia in their stories (Federal Men badassery aside).