Posts tagged ‘Johnny Quick’

More Fun 107 – Green Arrow, Superboy, Johnny Quick and Aquaman end

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More Fun 107 (Jan/Feb 1946) was the last issue of the book to feature heroes.  With the following issue, Green Arrow, Superboy, Johnny Quick and Aquaman were all gone, moved en masse to the pages of Adventure Comics.  The comedic strip Dover and Clover was the only one to stick around, being joined by numerous other “funny” strips.

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The last adventure for Green Arrow and Speedy in this book have them struggling against a mathematical genius who is trying to help them with their case, unaware that the archers are intentionally laying a false trail to decoy the thieves.

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It’s a decent story.  The Arrowcar gets wrecked at the end of the tale, but it’s all fixed up (or replaced) by the time Green Arrow’s series in Adventure begins.

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Johnny Quick’s final tale gives Tubby Watts the larger role, and has excellent art by Mort Meskin.

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Johnny and Tubby are on a riverboat cruise, when Tubby falls overboard and winds up in the hands of gangsters, who hold him for ransom.  He is blissfully aware of the alligators menacing him.

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A fun little tale.  Glad this series carried on.

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Joe Shuster returns to the pencils for the last Superboy story in More Fun, which also finally gives young Clark Kent glasses.

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It’s a dynamic story, that has Superboy aiding a boy in a soap box derby.  Though you do have wonder what age he and his friends are – soap box derbies, marbles championships and yet a high school new editor!

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Similarly, if he is in high school, why is he punished by writing lines on a blackboard?  But ignoring the age issue, it’s a fairly good story.

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Aquaman’s final outing is bookended by an entertaining bit in a classroom as a teacher explaining that Aquaman never comes to the inland part of the USA.

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He is searching for a lost seal cub, and tracks him through the St. Lawrence Seaway, into the Great Lakes and over Niagara Falls.

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Overall, this issue is actually much better than some of the ones preceding it.  Likely why these series were all kept, rather than cancelled.

More Fun 89 – the origins of Green Arrow and Speedy, and the returns of Black Jack and Dr. Clever

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Green Arrow and Speedy have their origins told for the first time, in More Fun 89 (March 1943).  Oliver Queen’s story is very, very different from the later tale, but there are notable points of similarity in Roy Harper’s.

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Lost Mesa is the location that eventually brings the two heroes together.  Roy arrives first, as his father dies in a plane crash, and he is trapped there, along with an old native guide Quoag.  The notion that Roy was orphaned during a fatal accident, and then raised by natives, would remain in every variation of his origin story.

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Oliver Queen is introduced as a wealthy collector of weapons.  Criminals attempt to rob him, but instead succeed only is destroying his collection.  Oliver has heard of Lost Mesa, and intends to re-stock his collection with weapons from there, which he terms “a gold mine.”  The bad guys overhear this, take it literally, and head there themselves.  Lost Mesa is apparently not that lost.

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Entertainingly, the two men do not hit it off at all when they meet, Roy mistaking Oliver for one of the gang.  They both get captured, but free themselves.  In plotting their revenge against the hoods, they adopt the basic guises and nicknames that would define them as heroes.

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As a plus, they discover that there really is a treasure horde of gold in Lost Mesa.  As a minus, Quoag dies trying to help them.

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And though a rope attached to an arrow is not at all beyond the normal scope of archery, the fact that he brands it an “Arrow-line” makes this an early trick arrow as well.

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Black Jack returns again in this story.  He has a modern, oil-burning watercraft as his pirate ship, and that seems enough to warrant a story.  It’s a pretty run-of-the-mill affair for the most part, except when it gets down to the fight.

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Black Jack captures Aquaman at one point, and intends to suffocate him by withdrawing the oxygen from water.  The “scientific” discussion between the men is so awful even I can tell it’s complete nonsense.

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Aquaman uses whales to create a distracting rainfall, as well as to propel him and some eels up to the villain’s lair.

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The eels in turn function as ropes.  From simple commands, Aquaman’s power to control and manipulate sea creatures has jumped to the staggering level it would remain at.

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Mort Meskin brings back Dr. Clever in this Johnny Quick story, but the character really doesn’t have that much to do with the story, and appears only in a few panels.

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Tubby Watts gets a larger than usual role, as he and Johnny Chambers spend some time as guests at a training camp.  It’s really not clear in the story if they are they just in order to make a newsreel, or if visiting the camps was a normal activity at the time, part of the recruitment process?  Certainly Tubby is not treated as a man doing a job by the military at the camp, but more like a potential soldier.

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While Dr. Clever schemes sabotage off to the side, Johnny races around doing all manner of tasks that soldiers in training do.

 

More Fun 88 – Tubby complains to the artist

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The only story in More Fun 88 (March 1943) that stands out is the Johnny Quick adventure that sees Tubby Watts go to meet the artist of the strip.

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Mort Meskin is not named, but I am assuming this is him.  The story even has him working on “More Fun Comics.”

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Tubby has not been happy with the way he has been portrayed in the strip.  He relates an adventure of Johnny Quick’s in which he had to save the hero.

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It’s an enjoyable way to tell the story, and cool to see Meskin’s version of himself.  There is a very good page of super speed stuff.

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More Fun 87 – Green Arrow fires a rocket-arrow, Dr. Fate – doctor, Aquaman meets Atlanteans and Tubby Watts gets paid to do nothing

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Johnny Quick gets his second cover appearance on More Fun 87 (Jan 43).  He still doesn’t get the lead spot, and Green Arrow resumes his cover features with the next issue.  This is also the final issue with a Radio Squad story, the one early series that stuck around.

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Green Arrow and Speedy wind up in a complex case, which builds to a big prison breakout attempt.  But the plot is not the important thing here, it’s the arrows.

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Up until now the arrows have always been used in the acceptable variety of ways arrows are used – like setting them on fire, or shooting them up as signals.  But in this story, it stretches a little further.  In order to sneak into the prison to get information on the villain’s plans, Green Arrow and Speedy shooted hooked arrows at convicts, reeling them in almost like fish.

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Towards the end of the story, the duo fire off rockets, but Green Arrow specifically calls them Arrow-Rockets, name branding them a la Batman.  But also making this the first trick arrow.

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Some really nice art by Howard Sherman on Gardner Fox’s latest Dr. Fate story.

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Dr. Fate is pitted against a rival, but the doctor is a phony, as Kent susses out in his medical day job.  This issue shows him as a doctor, while most of the issues simply refer to his occupation in passing.

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Some of his powers seem to be back, as he is immune to bullets, and he’s pulled his crystal ball out of storage!

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There are even a couple panels of Dr. Fate underwater, drawn in Sherman’s unique way of expressing that.   A better story than most of the late Dr. Fate tales.

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Atlanteans get introduced in the Aquaman story in this issue.  The ark-type ship shown in the splash page is run by thugs in biker jackets, gathering rare creatures from around the world.  They find an Atleantean man, beat the crap out of him, and throw him in a  cage.

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The reader is treated to a fairly standard telling of the destruction and sinking of Atlantis.  The art makes ancient Atlantis look pretty urban and bland.

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Aquaman discovers Atlantis and meets its inhabitants for the first time – the previous notion of him living in a temple in the abandoned ruins can easily be blended with this.  He mistook an abandoned out-lying settlement for Atlantis proper.

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He frees the captured Atlantean, and throws the men in cages to be displayed to the Atlanteans.  Just temporarily.  So he says.

 

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Tubby Watts gets a more important role than usual, in a convoluted story that sees him paid by criminals to do nothing, part of a scheme to steal a farmer’s land that has oil on it.

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Tubby gets the plot-line, but after a page of being Johnny Chambers, Quick gets into action.

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Meskin is now making the most of the multiple images visual, which also appears on the cover.

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Drawn this way, Johnny has finally become a visually distinct character from the Flash.

 

 

More Fun 86 – Black Jack puts a price on Aquaman, and Johnny Quick gets a cover story

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More Fun 86 (Dec 42) features the first of two consecutive covers that showcase Johnny Quick.

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Black Jack is back, as Aquaman accepts a challenge for charity to swim around the world.  The middle of a massive war might not be the smartest time to do such a thing, but Aquaman is unconcerned.

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Black Jack puts a bounty on Aquaman, notifying pirates around the world of this, and also of his planned route.  Quite a communications network pirates have in the 1940s!  I also quite enjoy the panels that show Aquaman swimming on (in?) a map.

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The pirates trying to stop Aquaman on behalf of Black Jack are more of a nuisance than a threat, but Aquaman has a bit more trouble when he swims into a nest of Japanese ships.

They drug the waters, and being him on board, but he revives quickly and takes them out as well.

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Johnny Quick gets the cover story, although not the lead spot, in this issue.  The story is average, as Johnny performs years of tasks that have mounted up for three elderly men.

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Meskin’s art is a delight, as always, and the multiple images are used regularly.  The cover even reflects the story, although the men look like villains Johnny has apprehended, rather than men he is helping.  Tubby Watts is also featured on the cover, although his role in the story is very limited.

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More Fun 85 – Dr. Fate gets his degree, Aquaman gets hot, and Johnny Quick gets multiple images

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Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman bill this story from More Fun 85 (Nov 42) as the “New” Dr. Fate, and there are some changes to the character, though none as castrating as those which have already occurred.

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Kent Nelson decides to get a degree in medicine, and achieves that in less than a page.  Inza decides to become his assistant (nurse?) but her training is clearly more extensive, as we do not see her function in this capacity during the story.

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As Dr. Fate, he stops wearing his cape.  There also seems to be little of his strength or notion of being able to turn his body into energy or such.  He gets knocked out (with ether), then bound and tossed into a corner.  No way this would have happened to the character two years earlier.

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Of course, he gets free and stops the bad guy, who had killed the doctor who did recostructive surgery on his face.  The story ends with a bit that cannot help but bring “Inglourious Basterds” to mind, as the bandages come off to reveal that the doctor had carved swastikas all over the criminal’s face.

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Aquaman goes up against seal poachers in the arctic in this story.  The cold northern setting is quickly forgotten, though, once the hunters capture Aquaman.

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Then we are suddenly somewhere much hotter, with palm trees.  They throw Aquaman onto an island and leave him there to die, shooting at him if he tries to enter the water.  Although there is no concept of him dying if he is out of water for a period of time, the story does explain that he “loses his strength” when in the hot sun.  This is the first time this idea is really played on, though it will be decades before the one-hour time limit is conceived.

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He rides a swordfish into his final battle with the poachers.  He has to wrangle the fish in order to ride it, though.  He shows no sign of being able to mentally command it.  In fact, in these early stories the implication seems to be that he can mentally control small fish, crabs and such, but the larger, more aggressive fish are out of his range.

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The use of multiple images by Mort Meskin to show Johnny Quick’s super-speed takes hold in this story.  It is used prominently on the splash page, and again in two other panels of the story.

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The story itself is pretty much a “task” story, as Johnny endeavours to complete three impossible tasks necessary in order for a man to collect his inheritance.

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Johnny finds a needle in a haystack, counts can in a garbage dumps and bricks in a tall building, and also takes down the shady lawyer scheming against the heir.

More Fun 84 – Green Arrow goes to war, Aquaman defends Atlantis, and Johnny Quick puts out a fire

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Green Arrow goes to war in this story from More Fun 84 (Oct 42).

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The story begins simply enough, as Green Arrow is challenged to prove his might by making headlines without using his arrows.  Nothing very out of the ordinary.

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Then the story abruptly shifts to deal with a Japanese invasion, which Green Arrow and Speedy now have to fight off without arrows.

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They succeed well enough to blow up a Japanese ship.  The hand reaching out from the water is fairly extreme for the era, but this was produced shortly after Pearl Harbour, and clearly reflects that.

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Aquaman finds himself defending the ruins of Atlantis, but becomes the prize himself in this story.

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The villain runs an aqua-show, and is looking to raid Atlantis for something spectacular to draw in crowds.

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This is the first glimpse we get of Atlantis from the outside, just a crumbled wall.

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Aquaman gets captured, to be the star attraction, but his abilities with the fish allow him to take down the entire show and escape.

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The bulk of this Johnny Quick story is a “task” story, as Johnny single-handedly makes a movie, putting thousands of pictures in front of a camera at super-speed.  But that’s not where the important sequence lies.

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There is a fire as part of the set-up, and Johnny races to put out the blaze.  In this panel, Meskin uses multiple images to show Johnny’s speed.  The earlier time was part of the stylization throughout the page, but here it is clearly intentional.

More Fun 83 – Dr, Fate fights Fates, Aquaman and Black Jack at it again, and Johnny Quick gets a chest symbol

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The Dr. Fate story in More Fun 83 (Sept 42) has a lot of supernatural trappings to it, destiny and fortune-telling, but Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman still manage to avoid a mystical story.

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As with the issue before, the “two fates” the con men are dealing with is just a scam.  And again, Inza and Kent get involved through their friends.

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I was surprised when the crystal ball was talked about as if it were some sort of ray machine, but that’s just another example of the systematic removal of all magic from Dr.  Fate.  You have to wonder why they stuck with the character for so long, instead of just cancelling his series, when they didn’ t want any element of what the character was.

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Black Jack makes another appearance in More Fun in this story, strongly cementing his position as Aquaman’s arch-enemy of the Golden Age.

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The story has to do with a lost treasure from the time of the Louisiana Purchase.  The best part of the story has Aquaman imprisoned in a chest by Black Jack.  He summons a variety of sea creatures, not just fish, who manage to open the box and free him.  Another boost to his powers.

Black Jack returns in a couple of months.

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The Johnny Quick story in this issue has Johnny filling in for a delivery boy who is being harassed by crooks.  But it also is the story in which Johnny displays a chest symbol for the first time, and his costume is finally “complete,” thanks to Mort Meskin.

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The main part of the story is not Johnny and crooks, rather, it’s Johnny doing delivery boy stuff at super-speed.  This kind of story would become more and more frequent as his series went on.  I call them “task” stories, as its all about doing the tasks of a given profession, or variety of professions, rather than about solving crimes.

More Fun 81 – Green Arrow goes bankrupt, Dr. Fate can no longer fly, but Johnny Quick can.

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Oliver Queen goes bankrupt in the lead story in More Fun 81 (July 1942).  Interesting, in light of the fact that 25 years down the road, it would happen again, with character-changing effects.

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In this story, it`s simply a plot device that enables us to laugh at Oliver as her tries to find a suitable job, and admire Roy’s dedication to trying to help out.

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And there is crime along the way as well.  And wouldn’t you know it, solving the crime brings back the “lost” fortune.

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Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman give Dr. Fate a new villain, the Clock, whose face resembles a dial.

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The Clock is passing off one of his men as a violin instructor, to gain access and knowledge of society people.  He comes into contact with Kent and Inza at a party, but Kent shows off some honed observation and deduction skills in exposing the man.

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At one point, the Clock manages to capture Fate and has him tossed down a well.  Fate has to rely on ingenuity to survive – but in earlier days he simply would have flown out.  Even after he got the half-helmet, he was still flying around in stories.  Now, even that is gone.

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No mistaking that it’s World War 2 in this story.  Aside from the swastika-coated splash page, this Mort Meskin story has Johnny working with US codebreakers on cracking a Nazi code.

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The story is far more serious in tone than any of his previous outings, and instead of panels devoted to the words “suddenly,” or “swish, an entire panel is devoted to the codes.

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And while a number of panels in earlier stories have implied it, this issue makes it unmistakable that Johnny Quick’s speed formula endows him with the power of flight.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dr. Fate is pitted against a large, green mobster, called the Octopus, in this Gardner Fox/ Howard Sherman tale.

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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.

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The Octopus tries to gas Fate to death, but fails, and Dr. Fate beats the crap out of him.  A disappointment.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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