More Fun 80 – Green Arrow plays William Tell, Dr. Fate vs the Octopus, Aquman talks to fish, Johnny Quick loses his voice, and the Spectre vs the King of Color
The cover of More Fun 80 (June 1942) actually corresponds to the story inside! It was not standard practice yet, but always a pleasant surprise when it does.
The story is the first of countless Green Arrow tales that play on the William Tell idea. I suppose they could be counted, but even I am not inclined to do so. This tale has Green Arrow and Speedy hired to be stunt archers in a film on that topic.
Oliver Queen and Roy Harper apparently lounge around the balcony to their apartment in suits when not on a case. They head to Calfornia by Arrowplane. Which still means the Arrowcar at this time.
The film set is plagued by “accidents,” and the archers discover that there is a gold mine on the property, and the crimes were intended to drive the crew away before they could discover it.
Dr. Fate is pitted against a large, green mobster, called the Octopus, in this Gardner Fox/ Howard Sherman tale.
There is nothing nautical about the Octopus’ criminal endeavours. He leads a gang who run a carnival, at which they rob the patrons. Kent Nelson and Inza come to visit, and get caught up in taking it down. Howard Sherman really seems to have given up on this series. Inza, hanging for her life, looks completely resigned to dropping to her death.
The Octopus tries to gas Fate to death, but fails, and Dr. Fate beats the crap out of him. A disappointment.
Black Jack returns, getting a job on a pleasure yacht, and then convincing the rest of the crew to mutiny and hold the guests for ransom.
But it’s not the plot or the villain that makes this story mandatory for inclusion in my blog. We see Aquaman still needs to beat up sharks to make them do what he wants.
But we also see him converse with a fish for the first time, getting the information needed to track down Black Jack. This scene is very casually introduced, as if it were no big thing, but it’s a major development in the scope of his powers.
Aquaman catches up to Black Jack and beats the tar out of him and his men. No fish for the final battle. Black Jack is not done, though, and returns a few months later.
Johnny Quick deals with a crooked gambler, the Adder, who tries to manipulate a charity event Johnny is racing in. Once again, it’s the superb art by Mort Meskin that makes this tale.
The whole things plays out almost like a situation comedy. Johnny innocently agrees to take part in the race, unaware of the villain’s schemes.
But on the day of the race, he wakes up with laryngitis! Oh, no! Clever Johnny uses a loudspeaker to broadcast his speed formula loud enough that it can be heard, though he disguises it amid gibberish. And of course, he triumphs.
But the story does raise a curious point. Why is the volume the speed formula is said at significant? Is there a “speed god” who needs to hear it?
Percival Popp faces off against the King of Color in this Jerry Siegel/Bernard Bailey story, and the Spectre is kind of involved as well.
I like the bizarre globe helmst the King of Color wears, and although it’s exact attributes are never specified, it can create hypnotic effects, and also read emotions! Could have been an interesting villain. Clarice Winston returns in this story. Earlier I said she made no further appearances in the strip, but obviously I was mistaken.
It’s Jim Corrigan who saves the day, really. Not the Spectre or Percival Popp. Corrigan simply goads the King of Color, pretending to get captured in order to learn his plans. Jim almost falls under the color spell, but the Spectre force enables him to resist and escape.