Posts tagged ‘Fred Guardineer’

Detective 34 – Batman in Paris, Steve Malone returns, Speed Saunders goes flying, and Slam Bradley gets torpedoed

tec_34_001

tec_34_008

The looming image of Batman from the first page of the story in Detective 34 (Dec 39) would be merged with the origin story, and reprinted in Batman 1 a few months down the road.

tec_34_009

Bruce is still in Paris in this story, which pits him against the Duc D’Orterre, a torturer with an unusually shaped head.  The Duc stole the face of a man whose sister he was interested in.  The man is bandaged, so presumably the Duc flayed him.

tec_34_010

Some nicely dynamic action by Bob Kane, and a decent tale by Bill Finer, once again reminiscent of the horror movies of the era.

tec_34

Steve Malone’s series moves back to Detective after its reboot in Adventure Comics, and he brings his new blond assistant Happy with him.

tec_34_002

They break up a protection scam in this story, which, as usual, has no elements of being a district attorney in it whatsoever.

tec_34_003

Fred Guardineer’s Speed Saunders story in this issue has the army request Speed’s help after sabotage to their weapons.  We learn in this tale that Speed was “one of the best pilots in France,” which would seem to imply that he is old enough to have fought in World War I.

tec_34_004

tec_34_005

In this Jerry Siegel story, Slam and Shorty head off on a round-the-world cruise, but war between Tweepon and Luthoria (!) sees their liner get torpedoed by a submarine.

tec_34_006

But that’s little problem for Slam, who takes over the submarine himself.

tec_34_007

Advertisements

Detective 33 – the origin of Batman, Larry Steele gets a new secretary, and Speed Saunders heads to Canada

tec_33

Batman’s back on the cover with Detective 33 (Nov. 39).

tec_33_005

Batman’s origin is told for the first time in this story.  The basic elements of Bill Finger and Bob Kane’s story have never really changed.  The parents gunned down on the street, right in front of the boy.  The text informs us that the mother was shot, as well as the father, though we do not see this.  That would be changed, down to the road, to her dying from a heart attack after Thomas gets shot.

tec_33_006

The rest of the origin is simple and straight-forward, and in its direct narrative line makes it all seem within the realms of possibility and rationality.  Batman’s intelligence and fighting skills are explained, as is his eternal goal.  The bat flying through the window as inspiration gives it just the touch of strange/supernatural that it needs.

tec_33_007

The story then shows us that Batman uses a secret passage to get at his gear, and the trunk containing his costume is in this room.  The ears on the suit are almost down to what would become their normal level.  The car is still described as being special, but nothing visually stands out about it.  It’s really long.

tec_33_008

The villain in this issue patterns himself on Napoleon, and has a dirigible he is using to terrorize people.  The story is set in the US, but comes between two stories set in Europe, and I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to include this tale in Bruce’s time in Europe.  Certainly a Napoleonic villain would fit very well in France, where the following issue’s story is set.

tec_33_009

The Batgyro sees some more action, getting into a fight with, and destroying, the dirigible of doom!

tec_33_001

Larry Steele gets a new secretary in this story, Brenda Darling. She’s a capable brunette, able to shoot the gun out of a killers hand.

tec_33_002

tec_33_003

Speed heads to Canada in this story by Fred Guardineer, helping the Mounties catch a man who murders fur trappers and steals their pelts.  Trees, rock, moose, canoes, Mounties, this hits almost all the Canadian stereotypes, though no one speaks french.

tec_33_004

Detective 32 – Batman and vampires, Speed Saunders and Skull-Face

tec_32

Batman gets his head on the cover of Detective 32 (Oct 39), even though the main picture is a generic image.  This is the last cover not to feature Batman.

tec_32_001

Bill Finger and Bob Kane pick up the story from last issue, with Batman and Julie Madison now in Eastern Europe, encountering a mesmerized woman, Dalla.

tec_32_002

This entire story reads much like one of the Dracula movies from the era.

tec_32_003

The Monk retains his hypnotic control of Julie, drawing her to him, but Batman has no qualms about executing him and Dalla.

tec_32_004

tec_32_005

Speed gets a real villain, of sorts, in this Fred Guardineer story.  Skull Face wears a cloak and a skull mask, and poisons bathing beauties after forcing them to give their money to charity.  Why exactly he wants to do this in not clear.

tec_32_006

 

Detective 30 – Dr. Death returns, mind-control in Spy, and bad art in Speed Saunders

tec_30

No appearance, but again Batman is mentioned on the cover of Detective 30 (Aug 39).

tec_30_001

Bill Finger and Bob Kane pick up the story immediately after the ending of the first, and then jump ahead slightly.  Batman suspects Dr. Death is back, although this story deals more with a jewel theft than with murder.

tec_30_002

Bruce still is keeping the costume in his living room.

tec_30_003

While this is by no means a Batmobile, it is the first indication that his car is “special.”

tec_30_004

Dr. Death returns, shrouded in bandages, with a new foreign henchman.  The story mirrors the previous one a bit, as Batman deals with the henchman first, and then confronts Dr. Death at the end.

tec_30_005

This specific Dr. Death never appears again, but a similar version appears in the 80s, and then another in more recent years.

tec_30_006

tec_30_007

Jerry Siegel continues to script Spy, but the art is in lesser hands, as a scientist plots to take over the United States using a hypnosis ray, and starts by taking over the minds of senators, having them promote suspending democracy and instituting a dictatorship.  He then starts using the ray on agents, and both Jack Steele and the Chief fall prey to it.  He really ought to have used it on Bart, as Bart shoots the machine and frees everyone from his control.

tec_30_008

Jack is not seen again after this story.  Makes me wonder if he really was under the scientists control, or if he turned traitor.

tec_30_009

An overly complex story and some really poor art by Guardineer on the Speed Saunders story in this issue.  The crossbow in the forehead of the victim on the first page made me laugh, which is clearly not the intent.

tec_30_010

There is also a black honeycomb, referred to as coal, that a policeman hides in later in the tale.

Detective 27 – Batman debuts, Speed Saunders and the Red Crescent, Bart go solo in Spy, and Cosmo infiltrates human smuggling

tec_27

Detective 27 (May 1929) saw the introduction of Batman, or “Bat-Man” as he is labelled in this issue.  Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, the character was close enough to the Shadow or Green Hornet to be on familiar ground, but unlike the Crimson Avenger, not so blatantly a rip-off.

tec_27_001

The look of the Batman was heavily inspired by the popular horror films of the time.  Bruce Wayne is introduced at the top of the story, a wealthy young man with nothing better to do with his time than hang out at the Police Commissioner’s office.  Not that Commissioner Gordon appears to mind this.

tec_27_002

Gordon and the police investigate the murder of the owner of a chemical factory, and the Batman appears, doing his own, more rough and tumble, investigation.

tec_27_003

The car he drives is nothing special, other than being sort of vibrantly red.

tec_27_004

Batman finds a secret contract and figures out part of the crime, though not all of it.  He escapes from a gas chamber death-trap, and punches the villain into a chemical vat, commenting that it is a “fitting end for his kind.”

The final couple of panels are sort of charming in their attempt to use cinematic effects.  Batman is explained to be Bruce Wayne, for anyone incapable of figuring that out.

The series would run in Detective Comics for decades, even with some changes in the identity of Batman along the way, until replaced by a Batwoman series for a year after the Batman R.I.P. storyline.

tec_27_005

Speed Saunders case in this issue is just so obvious.  Too obvious. Shame on Guardineer for this one.  Speed is pursuing a murderous cult called the Red Crescent.

tec_27_007

Along the way he meets a woman virtually covered in red crescents.  What a way to conceal your secret cult!

tec_27_006

And in the end, guess what, she is the evil mastermind and leader of the cult.  Who would have guessed?  Sigh.

tec_27_008

Bart goes solo for the first time in this Siegel and Shuster Spy tale.  No mention whatsoever is made of Sally, nor will one ever be, for the rest of his run.

tec_27_009

In this issue Bart tries to keep a bunch of senators from being poisoned, despite the senators being real dorks whose childish behaviour makes the killers job easier.

tec_27_010

I’m including the Cosmo story in here because it’s so awful it just makes me laugh, envisioning it.  To investigate human smuggling from Asia, Cosmo goes in disguise as a Chinese man.

tec_27_011

Despite the story telling us he can speak Chinese, we read the most insulting and stereotypical version of the Chinese accent, and are left believing this was how he spoke in Chinatown.  Amazing they didn’t slit his throat in seconds.

tec_27_012

There is a page of excellent art in this story, showing the barges being used to smuggle people.

 

Detective 23 – Speed Saunders on skis, the Crimson Avenger vs Zombies, Spy investigate dead celebrities, and Slam Bradley heads into the future

tec_23

Speed Saunders gets the cover and the lead story in Detective 34 (Jan 39), as he hits the slopes, finding murder on the way down.

tec_23_002

Fred Guardineer has taken over the art on this series, which improves it a bit, although frankly it’s not Guardineer’s best.  The story is ok, mostly action as opposed to detecting.  This was the only time Speed Saunders got a cover appearance.  Between this, and the Crimson Avenger cover last issue, it seems that Detective was looking for something to draw in more readers, but had no series dynamic enough to carry the cover spot.  One was about to come along.

tec_23_003

As for Lee Travis, this issue sees him, as the Crimson Avenger, fighting zombies!

tec_23_011

They are not the flesh eating zombies we know and love, though.  These are actually much closer to the Caribbean original, mindless people enslaved to a madman.

tec_23_004

Once again, the art seems to go up a notch when a car is involved in the scene.

tec_23b

It’s another darker, more serious tale for Bart and Sally in this episode of Siegel and Shuster’s Spy.  A number of famous and prominent people are murdered, and our heroes are put onto the case.

tec_23_005

There is a scene of Sally in the shower.  Nothing at all is seen, but I still think this would have been pretty risque at the time, especially as one of the bad guy’s goons is searching her room at the time.

tec_23_006

Less banter, and a more competent villain, but Bart and Sally still function as equals throughout this story, even if Bart gets to save the day in this one.

tec_23_007

Siegel and Shuster give a very unusual adventure to Slam Bradley and Shorty in this issue, the first half of a two-part story.

tec_23_008

It begins simply enough, with a scientist who has invented a “time flyer.”  He takes Slam and Shorty with him on a trip to 2 Billion A.D.

tec_23_009

And then it just gets bizarre, with all manner of weird and dangerous creatures, even a flower that almost kills Shorty.

tec_23_010

And for the first time in Slam Bradley’s series, a cliff-hanger ending, as he races to find a cure for Shorty.

Anchors Aweigh

Adv_28___Anchors_Aweigh

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.

Adv_41___Anchors_Aweigh

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.

Adv_49___Anchors_Aweigh

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.

Adv_52___Anchors_Aweigh

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.

 

Tag Cloud