Cover by Creig Flessel
'Anchors Aweigh' (by Fred Guardineer): Don and Red continue to search for the South American crime lord El Diablo. (You know he's bad news, because whenever they mention him the local police chief starts shouting frantically.) There's the usual sleuthing, and a pretty good bar fight; it's actually not too bad. But if Mr. Marshall of the American Embassy isn't El Diablo I'll eat a bag of dicks.
'Tom Brent' (by Jim Chambers): Jim deals with a mutiny and some diamond thieves aboard his ship in the most basic of adventures on his way to "Stambul". Is this an old-timey word for Istanbul, or a patented fictional comic book city? (It looks like my first instinct was correct.)
'Federal Men' (by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster): This strip is back on form. I love how Steve Carson saving the presidential candidate from assassination is a minor event before the main plot starts. In this story, an evil triumvirate is trying to take over America by undermining its principles. It's high stakes stuff in a similar vein to the way the strip started, and I'm happy to see Carson back having adventures and punching dudes again.
'Nadir, Master of Magic' (by Will Ely): This is continued from last month. Still rocking his awesome turban, Nadir deals with a movie producer who is trying to kill an actress who spurned him. It's notable for having the first silent fight scene that I've encountered so far in this project. Also, Nadir seems to believe that if he kicks a man out of a twenty storey window it counts as suicide.
'Cal 'n' Alec' (by Stockton): Cal and Alec are complaining that nothing interesting happens to them anymore (oh, really?) when they find an abandoned gold mine. I'm not even sure if this strip is supposed to be funny any more. It's been cycled around through so many creators that it has lost a lot of its identity.
'Captain Desmo' (by Ed Winiarski): Desmo and his friend Gabby infiltrate the tribe of Sheik Ben el Hassar, trying to find a girl he has kidnapped. In doing so, Desmo gains the favour of the Sheik, and the displeasure of the other tribesmen. The only thing that really entertains me about this strip is that Desmo wears his flight helmet and goggles absolutely everywhere, even to bed.
'Gold Fever' (by Jack Anthony): This is a prose story about a gold prospector who everybody thinks is crazy because he claims to have millions of dollars worth of gold in his shack. After he murders someone, the authorities track him back to his shack, and after an avalanche they find he really does have the gold. These stories are becoming a colossal waste of time.
'Tod Hunter, Jungle Master' (by Jim Chambers): Tod rescues his friends and they make their escape from the tribesman and their evil empress. On the way they try to steal some rubies from a statue, but Tod falls inside and finds a priest living there. This is all a bit inspired by "She", I think, but without the eeriness and alien quality that story possessed.
'Don Coyote' (by Stockton): Don is hoodwinked by a thief, who steals his horse and purse, and leaves him to be framed for stealing a pig. The punchline has him all locked up, but apparently this story is to be continued. Like 'Cal 'n' Alec' this strip used to be funny, but I just don't know any more. It's also by Stockton, which is a thing with these two strips. It seems that whoever works on one also does the other.
'Robin Hood' (by Sven Elven): Robin Hood meets a knight who is down on his luck and in need of money, and a priest with an abundance of gold. Anyone with even a minimal knowledge of the Robin Hood stories can see where this is going, but it's by far the most entertaining series I've seen from Sven Elven. It's probably due to the strength of the source material, but it's very fun and jaunty.
'Dale Daring' (by Will Ely): Dale is in a tough spot, about to be doused with boiling oil by the grandfather of one of her old villains. Of course she's rescued by her boyfriend Don Brewster, and they take the villain Li Hoang captive. But other than the potentially gruesome torture scene, nothing here stands out.
'Rusty and his Pals' (by Bob Kane): The villainous Long Sin and his crew have taken over the ship and put the crew overboard in a boat. But the kids Rusty, Specs and Tubby are still on the ship, along with their friend Steve, who they rescue from walking the plank. This story isn't helped by Long Sin's ridiculous accent, or by me constantly wondering if Bob Kane actually drew it.
'The Golden Dragon' (by Tom Hickey): I really have no idea what the continuing story is here. A few Americans and a band of cossacks are in Mongolia for reasons I can't recall. But just when I was thinking this would be another forgettable installment, their camp is attacked by skeletons, who make off with some of the cast. I'm pretty sure they'll turn out to be guys in suits, but it's still worth it for the initial thrill of seeing friggin' SKELETONS. Awesome.