Wednesday, November 16, 2011

February 1940: More Fun Comics #54

Cover by Bernard Baily

That is a seriously great cover.  It's probably the first Golden Age cover that I really love.

'The Spectre' (by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily): The Spectre takes on a phony psychic, who has been fleecing the mother of the Spectre's former fiancee. This was all quite uninteresting, until the scene where the Spectre is summoned back to Heaven and offered a choice between eternal rest, or fighting evil on Earth as a ghost forever. With his fiancee's life in danger he chooses to remain Earth-bound. It's a great moment trapped in an otherwise mediocre story.

'Biff Bronson' (by Al Sulman and Joseph Sulman): Biff and Dan take on the Wizard and his robot army, which is nowhere near as exciting as it sounds. It mostly involves them running away while the robots' batteries run out.

'Captain Desmo' (by Ed Winiarski): Desmo and Gabby anger a group of assassins in India, and must beat them before they are killed. Which they do in a straightforward manner that elicits no excitement.

'Radio Squad' (by Jerry Siegel and Chad Grothkopf): Sandy and Larry must guard a wealthy man who is being targeted by "The Cloak", a mysterious killer who ends up being the wealthy man himself. The first part of the Cloak's plan makes perfect sense, but I can't see exactly what he was trying to achieve after that.

'Lieut. Bob Neal of Sub 662' (by B. Hirsch and Russ Lehman): A female spy after the US defense plans? Seen it. A spy ring with a ray that can stop a plane's engine? Seen it. Story with no original elements, told in a boring fashion? Definitely seen it.

'A Wet Wager' (by Paul Dean): A seaman makes a bet that he can stay underwater longer than his friend, but must be rescued when his oxygen line is cut. I'm almost certain that this is a reprint from an earlier comic.

'King Carter' (by Paul J. Lauretta): King and Red are stranded by pirates on a tropical island. Red befriends a tribe of apes that helps them defeat the pirates. There's a certain absurd charm of it all.

'Detective Sergeant Carey and the Policy Murders' (by Joe Donohoe): Carey and Sleepy track down the killers of a wealthy old recluse. It's all to do with an insurance scam, which is as worn out a motivation as there is.

'Sergeant O'Malley of the Red Coat Patrol' (by Jack Lehti): O'Malley takes on a gang of crooks that is trying to steal a mine from an old prospector. Predictably, dynamite is the answer to all of their problems.

'Bulldog Martin' (by Bart Tumey): Bulldog Martin uses an invisibility pill to wreak havoc on some crooks who are trying to make a transaction. In the course of setting the crooks against each other, he scatters eleven million dollars into the crowd below. Thus the day is saved, and the economy is ruined, by Bulldog Martin!

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