Monday, June 27, 2011

June 1939: Feature Comics #23

Cover by Ed Cronin

'Charlie Chan' (by Alfred Andriola): Charlie Chan, famous Chinese detective and star of many movies, has come to Feature Comics. In this story he rescues an inventor who has created a formula for "dark light", a substance that can be used to take photos through solid objects. Not only is this tedious but every page has about twenty million panels, which makes it an ordeal to get through. At least Charlie is a distinctive character, although his inability to form a coherent sentence gets really irritating.

'Gallant Knight' (by Vernon Henkel): The armies of Navaria are summoned to aid Charlemagne in battle agains the Tartars, and Sir Neville rides with them. Most of the story involves an ambush and battle with Tartars, but it's not terribly exciting.

'The Clock Strikes' (by George Brenner): The Clock investigates the kidnapping of a millionaire, which is about as stock standard as plots get in the Golden Age. Brenner tries to liven it up by having police detective McDuff take the credit for the case, but it's so offhand that it doesn't matter.

'Jane Arden' (by J.P. McEvoy and J.H. Striebel): Jane Arden wraps up the case and uncovers the murderer, and there's some effective misdirection thrown in at the last minute.  But the artist is getting lazy, and using a lot of silhouettes. It makes it hard to figure out which character is which, a fairly vital thing when you're talking about a murder mystery.

'Reynolds of the Mounted' (by Art Pinajian): Reynolds rescues a girl who has been kidnapped in order to blackmail her father into giving up his ranch.  My hatred for ranches, cowboys and mounties has increased exponentially since I started this project.

'Rain Bird, Chapter II' (by Robert M. Hyatt): This prose story continues from last month, with Broken Bow on his way to see the Jugardillos to obtain the secret of rain. It turns out that they are strange, ugly little goblin creatures who play with lightning bolts, and Broken Bow must answer their riddles to get a bolt of his own. This is quite decent, with a sad ending that elevates it far higher than just about every other prose story I've read in this blog.

'Big Top' (by Ed Wheelan): This strip just continues to be all over the place. First it's about Red, a kid who is a clown but prefers riding horses. Then the circus puts on a benefit show for sick kids. Then it gets into some loose plot threads from the last story, as everyone finds out who was trying to get the circus closed down. If it could focus on one thing for mor than a few panels it might be passably awful instead of utterly awful.

'Rance Keane, The Knight of the West' (by Will Arthur): Rance takes on a gang of crooks who have robbed a dude ranch. So, so dull.

1 comment:

  1. I'm chuckling over here at, "My hatred for ranches, cowboys and mounties has increased exponentially since I started this project."