Green Arrow and Speedy get the cover, and the lead spot, beginning with More Fun 77 (March 1942).
With the title of the story, and a huge devil over the Gayland sign on the splash page, I was expecting to have a lot of fun with this Green Arrow story, finding unmeant innuendos in the dialogue. But alas, that was not to be. After this first page, the name of the park is never referred to again.
It’s a decent enough tale. Criminals dressed as red devils are plaguing an amusement park, so Green Arrow and Speedy battle them. The roller coaster sequence is the only part that uses the rides as backdrop.
Green Arrow infiltrates the gang, disguising himself as a devil. So much red on that page, with Speedy in the mix. No trick arrows or anything special about this one, though.
Dr. Fate moves a little towards the mystical in Jerry Siegel’s story, and Howard Sherman does a good splash page.
Inza functions to draw attention to the problem, her usual role. Dr. Fate is dealing with a painting that is a portal to another realm. Sadly, despite it being called strange, it looks pretty much like the world around us.
At least Dr. Fate gets to fight a giant, although he just resorts to punching him, as he tends to these days.
Black Jack makes his third appearance in this tale. For a recurring villain, he never seems very competent.
This story sees him running a crooked casino on a ship outside the legal limits. Aquaman has his first scene out of his costume, and he’s in a snazzy white suit!
Black Jack’s plan go haywire, and his ship sinks. He survives the disaster, and is about to take vengeance on the heroine of the story, when Aquaman swoops in to the rescie and defeats him by…
Splashing him in the face! Yup, one good splash is all it takes to bring this villain down.
Remarkably, Black Jack returns in a few months.
There is some nice Mort Meskin art on this story, and a significant development in how Johnny Quick’s powers are shown, but the main thing I want to talk about with this story is the screw up with the names.
OK, so here is Tom Mason. See, he calls himself that. Poor kid was trying to kill himself when Johnny intervened, and learns how he killed another boy in a duel.
And in flashback, here is the duelling master (and real villain in the story), Mr. Douglas. The apparent duelling death is in the last panel.
And then, on the very next page, the duelling master is now called Mr. Mason, and will continue to be called this for the rest of the story. Really bad error, shame on the editor for not catching it. Unless secretly the duelling master is Tom’s real father, banished from the family long ago. He changed his name, lost and eye, and became a duelling master simply to pull this evil scheme on his unknowing child. Yeah, let’s go with that. Improves the story.
An enjoyable fight between Johnny and Douglas/Mason, but no strong visual for the super-speed yet.
And then, amidst some clever stylization of words and images, Meskin first uses the visual that will come to define this series – a panel that shows multiple images of Johnny at once. Here that is mixed with speed lines, and likely was not intended to inaugurate a new way of showing speed. But it was the start.
The Spectre story in this one is a welcome change. It’s back to the old for Jerry Siegel and Bernard Bailey, and there is no Percival Popp in sight. Great splash page, showing the Spectre off better than most issues do.
The story is a bit of a let-down, only in that is so much of the formula of Spectre stories before the change. Maligno is another malevolent spirit, once again wearing the purple robes that are the mandatory garb for nasty ghosts.
There is a touch of cosmic stuff, but nothing huge or dramatic. A step back to the better days, but only a baby step.