Monday, August 15, 2011

September 1939: More Fun Comics #48

Cover by Creig Flessel

If I seem a little more lost than usual, please keep in mind that I did not read the last issue of More Fun Comics, so there are strips for which I've missed a chapter.

'Wing Brady' (by Tom Hickey): In this chapter Wing Brady fights an Arab spy while he has a knife in his shoulder, then infiltrates the house of the evil Ali Pascha and takes him captive. Wing Brady is one tough hombre.  This is another solid action yarn, to be concluded next month.

'Detective Sergeant Carey and the Terror in the Swamp' (by Joe Donohoe): Carey and Sleepy are assigned to investigate a gorilla that's been attacking people and stealing from them. My scan of this issue is missing the last few pages of this story, so I don't know how it pans out, but informs me that it's a guy in a gorilla suit.  So this strip maintains its run of failures and disappointments.

'Biff Bronson' (by Joseph Sulman): Biff and Dan stop some saboteurs from engineering a war between Rana and Tudorland. It's very, very dull.

'Boxcar Tourists' (by Fred Schwab): This is a humour strip about two hobos who run afoul of an escaped criminal and try to get a reward for bringing him in. It's very mildly amusing. I wouldn't have been too upset if it had become a regular feature, but this is its only appearance.

'The Magic Crystal of History' (by Homer Fleming): This strip tells the story of Queen Anne and the Duke of Marlborough. It does a better job than usual of investing the characters with some personality, and so it held my interest a bit better than usual.

'Radio Squad' (by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster): This strip has some of the most competent and ruthless crooks seen in this blog so far. After robbing a jewelry store they shoot the jeweller in the hand for kicks, and ram Sandy Keane's car over during their getaway. Sandy and Larry lure them to another jewelry store to capture them, but the whole plan goes awry, the crooks kill the owner of that store, and then escape with all of the loot.  Later there's a car chase, and the crooks stage a crash that almost kills Larry. They're caught in the end, but those dudes don't mess about. I was almost convinced that Larry was dead, and that's more than I can say for any other villain out there.

'The Flying Fox' (by Terry Gilkison): Rex Darrell goes up against A-X and his air pirates, who try to steal the plans for Rex's experimental plane. Rex you should know that not only do I not enjoy your stories, I also think that your fox-eared helmet is stupid.

'Baseball Forecast' (by Jack Anthony): This prose story is about a baseball rookie who is called on in a crisis and hits a home run to help his team win. Standard stuff, and not at all interesting. But the final paragraph, in which the rookie's career is described in comparison with that of Babe Ruth, is pretty startling. It's never a good idea to try and claim that your fictional character is as good as one of the greatest players of all time.

'Lieut. Bob Neal of Sub 662' (by B. Hirsch and Russ Lehmann): Bob has been fighting against the forces trying to take over the Panama Canal for a while now, and in this chapter he finally catches the ringleader. It's a fairly underwhelming conclusion to the story.

'Bulldog Martin' (by Bart Tumey): Bulldog and his friends are captured and sold as slaves to Bom Ben Gay, an Arab chieftain. They escape, in what is a very boring and occasionally racist story. The only glimmer of interest comes at the end, when the villain is not killed but instead sees the error of his ways.

'Sergeant O'Malley of the Red Coat Patrol' (by Jack Lehti): O'Malley takes on a gang of kidnappers who fall foul of an Indian tribe. Not only does this story feature mounties, it also has an incredibly offensive portrayal of Native Americans.  And did I mention the mounties?

'The Buccaneer' (by Bernard Baily): A while ago Dr Killmen led a mutiny and threw Dennis Stone from his own ship. Now, in disguise, Dennis has convinced Killmen that he's a psychic, and infiltrates his crew. He then leads his men to take back his ship, and as the strip ends Dennis is about to have a sword fight with Killmen. This is fun stuff, and I'm looking forward to the next chapter.

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