Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 1939: Feature Comics #25

Cover by Ed Cronin

'Charlie Chan' (by Alfred Andriola): People are dying from gas in a gold mine in San Pedro, and Charlie Chan is called in by an old friend to investigate. The possibility of murder is raised, and a solid detective story emerges, but this one is to be continued in the next issue. And I honestly don't believe that the story is interesting enough to carry over like that.  I'll have forgotten the details by then.

'Captain Fortune' (by Vernon Henkel): Tyrone Fortune is captain of the Revenge, a ship crewed by cutthroats that is tasked with attacking pirates and the French. Fortune earns the enmity of a crewmember named Severish, and when they put into a Spanish port for repairs Severish opens fire with the cannons when Fortune goes ashore. This is a fairly dry adventure story, but it does have a decent cliffhanger.

'The Clock Strikes' (by George Brenner): The Clock investigates a member of a crime gang who has infiltrated the police commissioner's staff. Absolutely nothing of interest happens in this story.

'Rance Keane, the Knight of the West' (by Will Arthur): Clyde (an old friend of Rance's father) commits suicide, but Rance believes that he was murdered. The culprit is his business partner, which is a shame, because any mystery in which the guilty party is the first person under suspicion is a bit dodgy. This ends up as more of a howdunnit than a whodunnit, but even then we're not provided with the clues to the mystery before it's solved.

'Big Top' by Ed Wheelan: Hal and Myra continue to whinge and whine about him going to Hollywood and leaving her behind when what they really want is to be married. After he leaves, the story ends with Hal's ghost visiting Myra, and then a dramatic newspaper headline that we aren't shown.  I suppose the implication is that he died in a plane crash, which would be just desserts for all the romantic angst I had to endure.

'Ned Brant' (by Bob Zuppke and R.W. Depew): Ned Brant and his friends play football. Meanwhile, this gentle reader contemplates suicide.

'Slim and Tubby' (by John Welch): Last issue set up a boxing match between the champion Noyes and Benton (who I think is a cowboy on the ranch). In this issue they fight, and Benton predictably wins. It's not the worst rendition of this story that I've read.

'The Rules of the Game' (by A.L. Allen): Two boys enter a rodeo to try and win some prize money to help their destitute father. Feature Comics is really busting out some old chestnuts with this issue. It's an adequate telling of a well-worn story.

'Jane Arden' (by Monte Barrett and Russell E. Ross): Jane is still undercover, pretending to be a jewel thief to flush out "The Man With the Scar", himself a thief of some renown. It's okay.

'Reynolds of the Mounted' (by Art Pinajian): Reynolds takes on a guy who tried to murder his partner to get sole control of a gold mine. On the Mountie Scale (a special scoring system that ranges from -10 to -1, leaving it automatically below any other genre published) I rate this a -4.

I'm struggling to justify why I even read this comic.  I'm trying to cover the super-heroes as comprehensively as I can, so I suppose that the Clock is the reason.  But he sucks.  And there are no other strips in Feature Comics that I'm interested in.  Now that Movie Comics has been cancelled this is easily the worst comic that I'm reading.

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