Posts tagged ‘Anchors Aweigh’

Adventure Comics 32 – Federal Men

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With issue 32 (November, 1938), Adventure Comics finally adopts the title it would become famous under.  The covers remained generic, and once again there was no change of content to match the change of title.

This issue contained chapters of the following serials:

Barry O`Neil

Tom Brent

Dale Daring

Captain Desmo

Tod Hunter, Jungle Master

Golden Dragon

Rusty and His Pals

Anchors Aweigh

It also saw the beginning of a 5 part storyline in the Federal Men series.

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Steve gets trapped in a burning house while trying to rescue a fugitive, and though he survives the house’s collapse, he loses his memory.  Discovering a gun in his pocket, he believes himself to be a criminal. He winds up joining the Biff Davis mob, but after stopping Biff from shooting a cop (which results in Davis being shot and killed), he argues to the gang that he did it for their benefit, to prevent them from being pursued as cop killers.  He becomes the new boss of the gang, and leads them on a series of bank robberies in which they use knockout gas to incapacitate the tellers and guards, gaining his crew the nickname the Phantom Gang.  Ralph Ventnor is assigned to the case, as Steve informs the gang of his plans to pull of a $40 million gold robbery.  One of the gang members, Red, gets caught trying to rob a jeweler, and tells Ralph he is part of the Phantom Gang.  He is released to be an informant, but instead tries to set Steve up, plotting to kill Ralph and frame Steve for it, taking over the gang in time to pull off the gold robbery.  Ralph recognizes Steve, and Steve’s memory returns in time to thwart Red’s plan, and the gang gets apprehended.  Great story.

Anchors Aweigh

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Anchors Aweigh features Lieutenant Commander Don Kerry of the US navy, and his buddy Red Murphy, who is never given a rank.  They have one long serial that takes them to Brazil, where they hunt down and capture El Diablo, a revolutionary, but then spend the rest of the era dealing with problems in the south Pacific, mostly in one-shot tales. It ran from New Adventure Comics 28 (July 38) – Adventure Comics 52 (July 40).

The art is by Guardineer for the first few instalments, and it’s the kind of Guardineer art I don’t like, very stiff and static.  But I must conceded, after he leaves the series the art gets downright awful.

The first serial is not bad, it spends a lot of time making it look like Marshall, an American embassy staffer, is really El Diablo, but instead his assistant Fernando is the one leaving the false trail, and El Diablo actually ifs from the German embassy.

The later stories are passable at best.  Chinese bandits, a man who wants to blow up the Panama Canal, pirates, native uprisings, illegal gambling boats are all dealt with quickly and easily.  The most interesting, or at least the weirdest, of the stories involves master japanese spy Sin Yun, who attempts to get Don and Red to reveal the secrets of a radio controlled torpedo by having hybrid animals attack them.  The gorilla man is ok, but the octo-dile is hilarious.

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We finally learn that Red has the rank of lieutenant, which I’m guessing is lower than Don’s lieutenant commander.  Their final seven stories take them from Baja California to Jamaica, the Panama Canal and the Philippines, as they deal with foreign agents and everyday crooks.

The art is largely passable, though the jungle snake pit the heroes have to walk through in issue 49 looks simply ridiculous.

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My favourite story in this brief period comes in Adventure Comics 48, as Don impersonates a drug dealer to find out who is running the gang.  Much of the story consists of him acting the tough guy to avoid giving himself away, rebuffing other members of the gang, and even the wife of the man he is impersonating, until Don uncovers the postmaster as the drug czar.

The second last tale is set in the “south seas,” and while pursuing pirates Don and Red get trapped during a hurricane.

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The location of the final story, pitting them against rum runners turned gun runners, is not given.  So I am going to place them both in Hawaii at the end of their run.  They sit around relaxing and thinking their days of action are behind them, then get bombed during the attack on Pearl Harbour.

That may seem like a harsh ending to give these guys, but they are sailors, and had they done anything of note in the war we surely would have known.

 

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