Tuesday, April 5, 2011

November 1938: More Fun Comics #38

Cover by Creig Flessel

'The Masked Ranger' (by Jim Chambers): This wraps up the Night Raiders plot. It was building quite nicely, I thought, with the various characters gradually heading towards a final conflict, but then it all finishes in the space of two pages, with barely a shot fired.  It's a disappointing conclusion.

'Gary Hawkes' (by Bob Jenney): Gary Hawkes also wraps up his first storyline, in which he's been hired by the nation of San Columbo to fight would-be dictator Colonel Rodista.  Rodista is a cold bastard, ordering the bombing of every surrounding village just because he's in a bad mood. Gary goes undercover and becomes his confidante, then kidnaps him at gunpoint and takes him to the authorities.  Everyone is happy, but I can't help but wonder about Rodista's army, which is still out there and intact. Surely one of his lieutenants would take over?

'Radio Squad' (by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster): Sandy and Larry are fired up for adventure by a cop movie, and then disappointed to be assigned by their chief to help set up his wife's party. But as is the way with such things, the swami who is providing the entertainment is a jewel thief, and the boys get their excitement after all. This is fairly average by this strip's standards, but it was enjoyable seeing Sandy and Larry on their time off.

'Fun on Wheels' (by Gardner Fox): This is a prose story, but I gave up on it due to the blurry scan I have. I don't need my eyeballs exploding over this nonsense. It's to be continued next month, so maybe I'll be able to catch up with it then.

'Johnnie Law' (by Will Ely): Johnnie Law tackles a group of bank robbers who killed some cops. The entire strip is Johnnie and his partner Helen just laying into these guys, pummeling and shooting them into submission. That sort of thing can work if the situation is set-up well enough, but there's no background here.  We just know the bad guys are bad because we're told they're bad, and that makes it much less satisfying when they get wrecked.

'Rex Darrell' (by Terry Gilkison): This is another story I had to give up on. These blurry scans are murder.

'Mob Fury' (by Creators Unknown): This is a one-off story about a deputy who has to get a wanted man away from an angry mob who wants to hang him. It's alright.  I wouldn't mind more of these stand-alone stories.

'The Magic Crystal of History' (by Homer Fleming): This depicts the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. It would be nice if this strip could get away from English history for a while.

'Detective Sergeant Carey' (by Joe Donohoe): Carey investigates a string of disappearances at a museum, only to find the curator is collecting test subjects for his immortality experiments. This story barrels along from one crazy moment to the next, and it works on that basic level. It's not really good, but it is eventful.

'Lieut. Bob Neal of Sub 662' (by R. Lehmann and Russ Hersch): Bob Neal deals with some ammunition smugglers in Central America. The story is pretty average, and it has some pretty outrageous South American stereotypes, and the obligatory femme fatale who falls for the hero and then gets killed.  It's not over-the-top enough to get away with the cliches.

'Wing Brady' (by Tom Hickey): Wing finally makes some progress with his revenge. He's been needling Von Blarcom for months, and now the guy finally snaps and beats Wing, who just takes it. Of course there's another officer present, and Von Blarcom is arrested and sent to jail. With one down, Wing and Frenchy move on the next victim. This one's still holding my attention.

'Buccaneer' (by Bernard Baily): Captain Stone leads a raiding party on Captain Klaugh's ship to rescue some slaves.  The battle is still going when the strip finishes, so I suppose we'll see how it ends next issue. Again, there's nothing remarkable here.

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