Monday, July 9, 2012

June 1940: Daring Mystery Comics #6

Cover by Jack Kirby

'Marvel Boy' (by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby): This strip debuts in pretty awesome fashion.  When Hitler rises to power and foments war, Hercules is reincarnated in the body of a teenager, and dubbed Marvel Boy. The rest of the story is an action-packed (albeit formulaic) battle against fifth columnists.  But the mythic power of the origin story is hard to deny, even if the writer does have Hercules living in Valhalla. Dude, wrong mythology!

'The Fiery Mask' (by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby): The Fiery Mask investigates a series of murders, and discovers that the culprit is a demonically-possessed toddler. The investigation eventually leads the Fiery Mask into Hell, where he seriously confronts a being that can only be Satan. Yes, it ends with the Fiery Mask waking up in his lab, but the door is left open for this story to have actually happened, and that is rad.

'Stuporman' (by Creators Unknown): Stuporman is not really a Superman parody as I would have expected, but more of a parody of the super-hero/adventure strip genre as a whole.  Stuporman must a plot by a mad scientist and his thugs to turn glass doorknobs into fake diamonds.  The philosophy here is to throw as many jokes at the reader as possible, with the hope that some will stick.  My experience was that some fell flat, some were utterly inscrutable, and a small few were decent.  It does make nice change in tone from the rest of the comic, though.

'The Flying Flame' (by Bill O'Connor and Ben Flinton): Ye gods, another strip making its first appearance!  The Flying Flame is a red-haired American pilot who is fighting in World War 2.  In this story he must battle the Black Ace, a German pilot.  It's more exciting than the usual crop of aviation heroes, I'll give it that.

'Monako, Prince of Magic' (by Larry Antonette): This is the final appearance of Monako and his fez.  He rescues a girl from some thugs and an old hag, which isn't the greatest way to go out. Monako's stories were mostly boring, with the exception of his origin story. Seriously, the dude lived for years with the tribe that murdered his parents! Bye bye Monako, see you in The Marvels Project!

'Dynaman' (by Steve Dahlman): Yep, it's another debut, which just goes to show how popular the previous strips in this comic must have been.  Anyway, in an ancient city called Korug, Lagaro is the most awesome dude ever, and his name translates to Dynaman, Man of Power. When Korug sinks beneath the waves Dynaman flies to safety as the only survivor.  He goes to Egypt, where he defends it from cavemen, a brontosaurus, and pretty much every animal in the zoo. Seriously, if you like to see super-heroes punching animals (and I sure do), this story is for you.

'Tigerman' (by Mike Roy): Not to be confused with Trojak the Tiger-Man from previous issues, this guy is yet another white man raised in the jungle. In his debut story he rescues some white explorers from the Monolink Men, a subterranean tribe of ape-dudes. It otherwise has little of interest.

In other stories: 'The Falcon' (by L. Bing) goes after some bank robbers. Boo Falcon, you're the only boring story in this comic.

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