Monday, April 11, 2011

December 1938: More Fun Comics #39

Cover by Creig Flessel

'The Masked Ranger' (by Jim Chambers): The Masked Ranger rescues a man who has been falsely accused of murder from a lynch mob, and then gets involved with the machinations of a renowned gambler. No doubt the two plots are connected somehow. There's an adequate mystery being set up here, but it's not particularly interesting me.  The novelty of the cowboy wearing a mask is fading.

'Johnnie Law' (by Will Ely): Johnnie Law stumbles across a diamond smuggling racket, and defeats the smugglers with the time-honoured tactic of calling the police.  At least this time he did it with a phone he had installed himself in the smugglers' cave.

'Radio Squad' (by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster): Sandy and Larry investigate a "monster" that has been killing people. Two great danes are the real culprits, as well as the master who trained them. This was not bad, and at the very least it had me wanting to see the mystery's solution. I figured it would be an animal of some sort, but I was convinced that it would be the usual ape.  Great danes are a great untapped resource as far as fictional animal maulings go.

'Fun on Wheels' (by Gardner Fox): This is a prose story continued from last issue (which I was unable to read due to a bad scan).  It's about a bicycle salesman who is trying to prop up his business, marry a girl, and stop the crooked politicians in his town. I'm certain that this is reprinted from an earlier issue. I remember enjoying it then, but without having read the set-up from last issue it's not quite as much fun this time.

'Detective Sergeant Carey' (by Joe Donohoe): Carey investigates a psychic who is hypnotising butlers, maids and chauffeurs so that they can help him rob their wealthy employers. In what may be a bit of parody, there's a situation where Carey is getting beaten up, and he wishes he'd called the police earlier. Then a policeman arrives to help anyway, because he was looking for Carey to give him a parking ticket. I can't work out if this is a piss-take or a lazy cop-out.

'Red Logan' (by Ed Winiarski): Red was last seen being lined up by a firing squad in the country of Boronia. He manages to escape and prove that he's not a spy, but makes an enemy of a munitions salesman in the bargain. As troops from a neighbouring country invade, Red is blown up with a big grenade by his new found nemesis. This one is pretty unremarkable in its execution, but at least the scope is fairly epic.

'Red Coat Patrol' (by Creig Flessel): This is a new strip about Constable O'Malley, a mountie.  This is the second ever DC strip about mounties, and I remember that the first was deadly dull; as a general rule, mounties are good only for comedy sketches, and not for genuine drama. Anyway, O'Malley deals with a fur thief pretty handily. The only remarkable thing about the story is a torture sequence, where the thief talks about O'Malley's beautiful body, and wants to "have the pleasure of making him squeal like a pig!"

'The Magic Crystal of History' (by Homer Fleming): The crystal shows Bobby and Binks the events of the Spanish Armada, and its defeat by a smaller English fleet. And then at the end, after Binks says a few things to put these events into historical perspective, Bobby just randomly mentions that Shakespeare was around doing stuff at the time as well. Come on kid, stay focused!

'Gary Hawkes' (by Bob Jenney): Gary deals with a movie director who is arranging for the deaths of his stunt pilots as a way to bring his studio into disrepute, over revenge for something or other.  Again this story is very dull, which seems to be par for the course for this issue of More Fun Comics.

'Lieut. Bob Neal of Sub 662' (by R. Lehmann and Russ Hersch): Bob and his crew are tasked with defending a shipment of silver on its way to China. The scan of this story was very blurry, and besides that it was getting late and I was utterly knackered.  I see that Bob had to wrestle a giant octopus, so I'm really disappointed that I couldn't read this one.

'Wing Brady' (by Tom Hickey): Wing manipulates one of the men who framed him into shooting another, and is about to have a confrontation with the third.  I thought that the third guy was disposed of already, so it's disappointing to see him back in the story already.

'Buccaneer' (by Bernard Bailey): Dennis Stone is wounded in a duel with Captain Klaugh, and his crew work to get him off the ship while the battle still rages.  Now I love a good sword-fight, and will watch any terrible movie with a bit of swash and buckle in it, but this can't even hold my interest.


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