Monday, July 23, 2012

July 1940: More Fun Comics #58

Cover by Bernard Baily

'The Spectre' (by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily): The Spectre goes up against a crooked businessman who is trying to kill a warehouse owner who knows about his shifty dealings. This is strictly small potatoes for the Spectre, and there's never any doubt of the outcome. The only spot of interest comes from a bit of falsely manufactured drama, as the Spectre is inexplicably drawn into the spirit world while trying to save the warehouse owner from a bomb. It's never explained, and is just a very weak piece of storytelling.

'Doctor Fate' (by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman): This strip is a weird mix of the poetic and the prosaic. Fate must battle a wizard who has stolen a powerful book that contains "all secrets", and is capable of destroying the world. Epic enough, yes? Except that the wizard is using it to steal money. And Fate stops him with a punch to the jaw. But then there are really cool touches, such as Fate burning the book and scattering the ashes into the sea, only for thousands of fish to die because of its evil power. If Fox and Sherman would just go balls out epic this could be a great strip.

In other stories:

'Detective Sergeant Carey' (by Joe Donohoe) investigates the murder of a trapeze artist. 'Congo Bill' (by Whitney Ellsworth and George Papp) deals with a tribe of leopard men, and finally captures his archnemesis the Skull. 'Captain Desmo' (by Ed Winiarski) stumbles across an island where arms smugglers are stockpiling munitions, and blows it up. In 'Radio Squad' (by Jerry Siegel and Chad Grothkopf) Sandy and Larry track down some brutal robbers due to them having placed an unregistered measles sign on their house. 'Lieut. Bob Neal of Sub 662' (by Bob Hirsch and Russ Lehman) investigates some stolen bonds and a faked suicide. It's pretty obvious that the creators have no interest in the naval setting any more. 'Biff Bronson' (by Albert Sulman and Joseph Sulman) helps a man jailed for fur theft clear his name. And 'Sergeant O'Malley of the Red Coat Patrol' (by Jack Lehti) catches a gang that stole a lumberjack payroll.

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