Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 1940: Adventure Comics #53

Cover by Bernard Baily

'The Hour-Man' (by Bernard Baily): The Hour-Man takes on a crooked factory owner who is working  children to death. This story introduces the Minute-Men of America, a bunch of kids spread all over the nation who are amateur radio enthusiasts. I suppose this knocks out two fads at once, with kid sidekicks and a fan club, but neither of these are things I am a fan of.

The only other notable thing about this story is that Rex Tyler is utterly reprehensible. With other heroes, the cowardice of their civilian identity is an act. But Tyler is a genuine coward. It could work in a modern context, but here he comes across as thoroughly unlikeable.

'Mark Lansing of Mishikawm' (by Howard Purcell): Mark Lansing is a jungle explorer who, along with his friends, gets caught up in the world-conquering plot of subterranean warlord Vas Onga. They defeat Onga, but are trapped underground, and there only means of escape is to travel to the alien planet of Mishikawm. I'm guessing that this will be a 'Flash Gordon' type set-up, which hasn't been the greatest genre in comic books thus far. Certainly the opening chapter didn't inspire me with much confidence.

In other stories:

'Barry O'Neill' (by Ed Winiarski) tackles Fang Gow with the aid of the villain's daughter. In 'Federal Men' (by Jerry Siegel and Chad Grothkopf) Steve Carson investigates the sabotage of a train carrying radium. 'Cotton Carver' (by Gardner Fox and Jack Lehti) battles a temple full of warrior-priestesses. 'Steve Conrad, Adventurer' (by Gardner Fox and Jeck Lehti) accidentally stows away on a ship. 'Socko Strong' (by Albert and Joseph Sulman) continues fighting the invisible villain known as the Great I.  And 'The Sandman' (by Gardner Fox and Creig Flessel) takes on some loan sharks.

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