Monday, March 21, 2011

August 1938: New Adventure Comics #30

Cover by Creig Flessel

'Anchors Aweigh' (by Fred Guardineer): Don infiltrates a ship that's been supplying guns to El Diablo, and proceeds to pistol whip, punch, kick and explode everything in sight.  If there's one trait I admire in these Golden Age heroes it's the ability to dish out some serious consequences, and that's definitely on display here.

'Tom Brent' (by Jim Chambers): Jim has arrived in Stambul, where he deals with a gang that's kidnapped the local consul and taken his place as their first step to taking over the city. The story is unremarkable, but Chambers draws the hero with the biggest damn forehead I ever saw.

'Federal Men' (by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster): Steve Carson catches a murderer with the help of the Junior Federal Men Club.  Is it wrong that I wanted all of those kids to die?  Because I am so sick of them.

'Nadir' (by Will Ely): Nadir is sailing with a friend in the South Seas when they are attacked by river pirates. (With speedboats, might I add.)  He beats them with hypnotism, but later on they get their revenge, and the strip ends with Nadir strangled and about be bundled into a car. It's the usual stuff, but at least the cliffhanger is pretty good.  Or it would be, if it was ever resolved, because this is the last we see of Nadir and his rad turban.  And it looks like he just got totally killed by pirates, which is at least a memorable way to go.

'Cal 'n' Alec' (by Stockton): When last we left Cal and Alec, they had just found a gold mine. But, as will happen, an outrageous Mexican stereotype gets mad at them and attacks them with dynamite, sealing the mine.  It's unfortunate, but you know, I seem to remember that these guys found a whole lot of gold a while ago and were already filthy rich.  Don't these writers know that they should never ignore the continuity?!?

'Captain Desmo' (by Ed Winiarski): In the last issue Desmo and his sidekick Gabby had infiltrated the bandits led by Sheik Ben el Hassar, but this month their scheme goes awry when Gabby drops his wallet and the Sheik sees his real street address in Brooklyn. Honestly, I'm more interested in Desmo's permanent headgear than the actual story.

'Deep Sea Gambling' (by Terry Keane): This is a prose story about a deep sea diver who bets his partner that he can stay underwater longer than him.  Yes, there's a bit of life-threatening stuff later on in the story, but at least the author here has realised that he only has two pages to work with, and has kept it appropriately small scale.

'Tod Hunter, Jungle Master' (by Jim Chambers): Tod Hunter had just found a priest inside a giant statue, who had been using it to control the natives for years.  After throwing the priest off the top and killing him, Tod uses the statue to order the natives to free his friends, then makes his escape. A happy ending, except for the one member of his party who is plotting something. To be continued!  (As if I care.)

'Robin Hood' (by Sven Elven): This strip continues the business with the knight Sir Richard, as he confronts the Abbott he owes money to and tricks him into lowering the debt. The focus on Richard instead of Robin and his men in this installment sucks a bit of the life out of it, I'm afraid.  And that's the last installment, which is a shame.  There have been other adaptations far more boring than this that ran for ages (I'm looking at you, 'A Tale of Two Cities').

'Rusty' (by Bob Kane): Rusty and his pals escape the pirate ship and make for a nearby island where they meet a big native with a sword. The only thing this strip has going for it is that the main characters all have distinct personalities. But when they amount to Plucky Kid, Kid With Glasses and Fat Kid, that's not saying much.

'The Golden Dragon' (by Tom Hickey): This strip has its most exciting and eventful episode yet. Thrill, as our heroes pack!  Gasp, as they travel! Yes, it's filler for the first half, but the last scenes feature Cockerill, who was captured last month, being thrown in a cell with a giant snake. I'm not sure who the story wants me to root for, though, because I seem to remember Cockerill as a traitor and potential rapist. Uh, go snake? Oh, and I finally paid attention, and know what the heroes of this strip are up to: they're looking for the lost treasure of Genghis Khan.  Actually writing about this stuff is a great aid to my memory.

'Don Coyote' (by Stockton): Don Coyote was thrown in prison last issue, and this month he escapes. There's a touch of suicide humour, but other than that it's mostly slapstick, which takes a very talented artist to pull off in comics. Stockton isn't that artist, I'm afraid.

'Dale Daring' (by Will Ely): Dale and her friends hold Li Hoang hostage as they escape the Mongol village. Of course they are pursued, and the strip ends as the pursuing natives are sent tumbling into a chasm by Our Heroes. It's a weird cliffhanger that leaves the villains as the ones being threatened.

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