Monday, October 31, 2011

January 1940: Feature Comics #30

Cover by Lou Fine

'The Clock Strikes' (by George Brenner): Some foreign spies engineer a car crash so that they can steal the US industrial mobilisation plans, and the Clock tracks them down and gets them back. I'm getting tired of these stories that are straightforward to the point of tedium. There are so many that play the same story beats over and over again with nothing new to add.

'Jane Arden' (by Monte Barrett and Russell E. Ross): Jane and her friend Sue are on holiday. Sue hooks up with a handsome dude, while Jane talks to a fat guy, and there is jealousy all round. Jane recognises the handsome dude, so I'm sure he'll turn out to be a crook at some point, but at the moment we're in romantic comedy territory. It's not particularly well done, but it's also an area that comics haven't touched on much to this point.

'Reynolds of the Mounted' (by Art Pinajian): Reynolds must take a shipment of gold to Nugget City by canoe, while a fake shipment goes by steamer to throw off potential thieves. Along the way he's attacked by Dixon, a foreman who had suggested the plan in the first place. With Dixon's arrest the story would normally end, but it turns out that the mining manager Lane is trying to steal the gold as well. It certainly took me unawares.  Too bad this has mounties in it.

'Spin Shaw of the Naval Air Corps' (by Bob Powell): Spin is a Naval Air Force pilot. In this story he aids in the rescue of a sinking yacht by using his plane's propellers to blow away a cloud of smoke. No effort is made to make the reader care about any potential deaths, and Spin displays no personality to speak of.

'Captain Fortune in the Days of the Spanish Main' (by Vernon Henkel): Fortune is sent to find a missing ship, and ends up rescuing the crew from a native tribe by blowing them away with his ship's cannons. Way to triumph against the odds, guy!

'The Dollman' (by Will Eisner): Dollman takes on a submarine full of foreign agents who have been stealing shipments of American motors. The action scenes are dynamic, but other than that this story has little to offer. It's hard to believe that this is the same Eisner who is doing such great work on 'Espionage' in Smash Comics.

'Rance Keane, the Knight of the West' (by William A. Smith): Rance Keane stops a guy from blowing up a bridge so that he can claim his victim's will. It's another very hackneyed story.

'Smoke Screen' (by A.L. Allen): An orange farmer must deal with a gang of Mexican gun smugglers in this prose story. Which he does by calling the sheriff. It makes sense, but it doesn't make a good story.

'Charlie Chan' (by Alfred Andriola): Charlie is on a cruise ship that is attacked by pirates who are after some rubies owned by a doctor. The lettering on this thing is miniscule, and it was a real chore to read. I think I only deciphered about half of the dialogue, so I definitely missed some of the finer points.


  1. Just finished reading the entire work, to date! Excellent work! Will be avidly following this amazing project.

  2. Thanks! I certainly plan on continuing for the foreseeable future.