Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 1939: More Fun Comics #46

Cover by Creig Flessel

'Wing Brady' (by Tom Hickey): Having rescued the commandant's daughter from kidnappers last issue, Wing leads a group of policeman back to their island to take them on. This is a solid yarn, with some naval adventure, a trek through the jungle, and a shootout. Tom Hickey really is one of the most dependable creators around at this time.

'Detective Sergeant Carey and the Mystery of the Missing Model' (by Joe Donohoe): Carey and Sleepy investigate the murder of an artist, who was involved in the smuggling of paintings and killed by his fellow smugglers. This one features one of my most-hated story conclusion, in which the hero summons back-up to deal with the baddies, but at least in this one he did so while in danger himself.

'Biff Bronson' (by Joseph Sulman): Biff and Dan are hired to protect some pearls on a cruise to England, but Biff is framed for the murder of their owner. Needless to say he has caught the culprit by the end. This isn't a great story, but as a good-natured adventure yarn it does well enough.

'Incident in China' (by Jack Anthony): This prose story continues from last issue, in which an American doctor in China is tasked with delivering a million dollars to a general to help him fight against an invading army. In this installment he evades the enemy soldiers and delivers the cash. The Golden Age doesn't really do twist endings.

'Gary Hawkes, Knight of the Skies' (by Rob Jenney): Gary takes on a gang of crooks who have been making their getaways in a light plane. The whole "crooks with planes" plot has been pretty common of late.  This is the last we see of Gary Hawkes, which is a very good thing.  I really don't need to read the adventures of the umpteenth nondescript aviator.

'The Magic Crystal of History' (by Homer Fleming): In this installment we see the reign of James II of England. It's another dull illustrated textbook.

'Radio Squad' (by Siegel and Shuster): Sandy and Larry arrest a kid who is taking potshots with his rifle at the building across the street. After that is sorted out the shots start up again, but this time a crook is the culprit, trying to kill an enemy and get the kid to take the blame. This is well done, if a little obvious.

'The Flying Fox' (by Terry Gilkison): Rex Darrell is still going up against the same gang of sky pirates from last issue. In this installment he rescues an inventor from them, but their leader manages to escape. This is pretty tedious stuff.

'Cal an' Alec' (by Fred Schwab): Cal and Alec, still in the ghost town in Death Valley, fix up an old car and try to drive it back to civilisation. After a test drive they turn back to get their stuff, then crash because Cal didn't fix the brakes. Cal and Alec have been trapped in this town for so long that it's starting to feel like the island from Lost.

'Marg'ry Daw' (by Creators Unknown): Last issue Marg'ry and her father Luther were confronted by the Speaking Frog, who seems to just be a guy with a giant frog hat covering his head. Luther beats him up and unmasks him, but the mystery is not yet revealed to the reader. As usual this isn't very good, but the sheer weirdness of the Speaking Frog is sort of compelling.  But the mystery will never be resolved, because this is the strip's last appearance.  The weirdest thing is that nobody even seems to know who wrote and drew the damn thing.

'Lieut. Bob Neal in Peril' (by B. Hirsch and Russ Lehman): Bob stumbles across a mysterious submarine base in the Panama Canal, and blows it up, but by the end he doesn't know whose base it was. To be continued! This wasn't a great story by itself, but it sets up the mystery well enough.

'Sergeant O'Malley of the Red Coat Patrol' (by Jack Lehti): O'Malley goes up against some generic crooks in a generic story. It's generic.

'The Buccaneer' (by Bernard Baily): Dennis and his crew are thrown into the ocean by the evil Doctor Killmen, and have to survive. It's there.  (General sleepiness may have contributed to the last two reviews.)

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