Wednesday, January 5, 2011

March-April 1937: New Adventure Comics #14, Detective Comics #3

Cover by Whitney Ellsworth
With the departure of Tom Cooper and all of his strips, there's a lot of real estate to fill in New Adventure Comics this month.  None of the new arrivals fill me with enthusiasm, but here's a rundown.

'Jungle Fever' by Ed Winiarski is... honestly, I don't know.  I read this comic last night, I don't have it with me now, and I can't remember a damn thing about it.  I'll get back to this with the next issue.

'Monastery of the Blue God' is by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson and Munson Paddock, the team that worked on the excellent strip 'The Blood Pearls'.  Again, it's Wheeler-Nicholson engaging in exploration of Asian cultures, as is his tendency.  This one doesn't have the distinctiveness of 'The Blood Pearls' to set it apart, though.

There is also a bunch of filler gag strips that aren't really worthy of comment, and a crossword puzzle. I feel like the text pages are expanding, too.  Lord, give me strength.

'She', the adaptation by Sven Elven of the H. Rider Haggard novel, has an honest-to-god nipple in it.  These sorts of things always surprise me in old comics, but they shouldn't, because I have no idea what the 1930s were really like.

'Federal Men' (by Siegel and Shuster) is a showcase for the Junior Federal Men, which becomes a sort of fan club.  It has a bizarre set-up where Steve Carson, having been shot by a kidnapper, sends a couple of pre-teen boys to deal with the problem.  Which they do, of course; they are Junior Federal Men, after all.  I was expecting to see an ad at the end of the strip asking kids to send in money for various rubbishy bits and bobs, but that was mercifully absent.  I don't expect it to stay that way.

Cover by Creig Flessel
'Speed Saunders' (by Craig Flessel): Speek is back after last issue's absence, and he's still putting a stop to water-based crime.  This time, he's protecting a woman from thugs who want her father's top secret type-writer plans.  Yes, that's right, they want the top-secret type-writer plans.  I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.

'Hope Hazard, G-Woman' (by Alex Lovy): This is a new strip about a female federal agent.  Investigating missing planes (it's important you see, because they were carrying air mail!), she finds an underground kingdom ruled by a big fat villain called Xavier.  And it has the dreaded 'to be continued', so I guess we'll be seeing more of Hope Hazard.

'Cosmo, Phantom of Disguise' (by Sven Elven): Oh god, there's more of this.  This time around Cosmo is up against the seaman's union, who are trying to stop a wealthy ship-owner from delivering a speech.  The weird thing about this strip is that every damn person on the face of the planet seems to know Cosmo personally.  It's bizarre.

'Claws of the Red Dragon' (by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson and Tom Hickey): Bruce Nelson is still investigating the kidnapping he witnessed in the creepy Chinese restaurant back in Detective Comics #1, punching many Asians along the way.  This one has lost all of the atmosphere and eeriness it had in the initial installment.

'Shooting Story' (by Capt. E.R. Anthony): Oh no, the short stories are making a comeback!  This is about a detective who chases down a criminal who took a shot at him for no reason.  Or something, I was kind of annoyed that I had to start reading these things again.

'Spy' (by megastars Siegel and Shuster): Bart's fiancee is about to marry someone else to teach him a lesson, but the bad guys stop the wedding and kidnap her.

'Buck Marshall' (by Homer Fleming):  There are yet more cattle rustlers.  Come on guy, expand your rogues gallery!

'Slam Bradley' (by Jerry Siegel and... Jim Bettersworth?):  Wait, where's Shuster?  Is he seriously staying on 'Spy' and abandoning 'Slam Bradley'?  Because this one was a massive step down in quality.  I think a lot of the character of the strip comes from Shuster, particularly the way he draws faces.  He has exactly one heroic face, and it is the most motherfucking stoic face you ever saw.  And Bettersworth just doesn't match up, to the point where Slam Bradley feels like a totally different character.

No comments:

Post a Comment