Tuesday, March 1, 2011

April 1938: More Fun Comics #31

Cover by Creig Flessel
'Doctor Occult' (by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) is a doozy this month, as he faces the Master of Corpses.  This guy is using black magic to command an army of zombies with which he intends to take over the world.  He even has a massive collection of corpses in glass tubes ready to swell the ranks (depicted in a pretty awesome panel).  Of course Occult prevails with his ill-defined mystical powers, but this was a good installment, with just the right combination of over-the-top silliness and creepy atmosphere.

'Ginger Snap' is another humour strip by Bob Kane, in which her rich uncle takes Ginger to an expensive restaurant.  It's very weird seeing the creator of Batman doing this sort of light-hearted material.

'Biff Brody and Pop Beaner' (by Creig Flessel) is a weird strip involving a lot of car crashes and gangsters.  It lurches from straight action to comedy, and really never settles on one tone.  I'm very glad to see that this is a one-off.  It's also drawn in a very cartoony style, which is a big departure from Flessel's usual gritty realism.  He should stick to his usual material, because he seems very uncomfortable in this genre.

'Red Logan' (by Ed Winiarski) is about a reporter who witnesses the shooting of a museum director, then follows the thugs responsible, only to be captured himself and thrown off a bridge.  The story is average , but it does have some well-constructed action sequences.

'Mark Marson' (by Tom Hickey) makes its final appearance in this issue.  He's still looking for the murderer he's been after for a while now when the story ends, so there's no real closure.  I would have thought a strip about an interplanetary policeman would be at least a bit exciting, but this strip barely engaged my interest.  The format of a continuing serial, with a few pages in each issue, hasn't been successful for many of these strips, I'm afraid.

'Brad Hardy' (by Tom Hickey) also makes it's last appearance.  We leave Brad and his buddy Prince Kardos in the middle of a life-or-death struggle with their enemy Porgo.  Who will win?  Again, much as with Mark Marson above, I couldn't care less.  Brad Hardy has been doing his John Carter/Buck Rogers riff for ages now, and never once have I been engaged.

I wonder if this signals the end of Tom Hickey's tenure with DC?  A quick bit of research tells me that, no, he'll be with the company for a good couple of years yet. Which is fine, because he does some quality work amidst the dross.

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