Posts tagged ‘Linda Page’

Detective 73 – Batman vs the Scarecrow, the Boy Commandos and the tin box, and the Crimson Avenger gets a cloud

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The Scarecrow makes his second appearance in Detective 73 (March 1943), which turns out to be the last appearance of the character until the 1960s.  Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson illustrate.

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Professor Crane is out of prison, and has thought up a new set of crimes, which have absolutely nothing to do with fear or scaring people at all.  Nope, instead he has a little blackboard and leaves three letter rhyming clues (vat, mat, yat).  What a let down.  Linda Page appears briefly, buying a ridiculous hat.

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The Scarecrow does hoist a nasty looking machine gun, but without the fear gas element (which had been created by Hugo Strange before the Scarecrow was introduced), the character just doesn’t sing.

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Simon and Kirby give each of the boys a chance to shine in this tale, which sees the Boy Commandos navigate a dense jungle to deliver a little tin box.

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There are Nazis pursuing them, of course, but unlike the other tales to date, this one gives much more play to the team itself.  Brooklyn still manages to grab focus.

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The tin box is revealed to be tin foil wrappers, and Rip Carter explains the importance of recycling stuff for war.  So propaganda again, but far more readable than the Japanese one.

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The Crimson Avenger starts using a capsule that releases a crimson smoke cloud, which he uses for dramatic entrances and exits, and also for messing up the bad guys during a fight.  It seems to affect the brain at times.

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The City Desk Editor is left befuddled at Lee Travis’ disappearance, while Lee himself managed to change costume and fall out a window.

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The Crimson Avenger and Wing are pursuing a mob boss who likes his people to dress and use tech from the turn of the century.  A mob boss keeping his people behind the times is not likely to triumph.

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Detective 69 – the Joker sends gifts, the Boy Commandos in Russia, and the Crimson Avenger helps a rookie

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The Joker returns with a really complicated scheme in Detective 69 (Nov. 42), in a story with art by Kane and Robinson.

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The Joker sends four men odd little gifts, and then begins blackmailing them.  Eventually, it’s revealed that the men were all involved in an explosion that killed two others.

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Linda Page has a brief appearance, accompanying Bruce Wayne to a fair.  The only reason for her to be there is to give Bruce a big scene, how to get away when they are trapped on the parachute jump.  He simply pretends to accidentally fall out.

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The climax to the story takes place in an aircraft manufacturing plant, shown in obviously photographic accuracy.

All in all, the cover is better than the story on this outing of the Joker.

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The Boy Commandos head to Russia in this Simon and Kirby tale, coming to the aid of the besieged town of Krovna.

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The main character in the story is really Tanya Vanin, a young girl who sees the Nazi plans to surround the town, and escapes over the ice to warn the coming Allies.  The plan is comically simple on the map in the first panel.

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Rip and the Commandos show up just as Tanya is about to collapse from exposure, rescue her, learn of the Nazi forces, and successfully relieve the town.

So unusual to see Russians portrayed as noble and heroic, but the propaganda mill wasn’t aimed at them for these few years.

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As the Crimson Avenger series progressed, we see more and more of the staff at the Globe-Leader.  At first, there is just one reporter, Mac, who Lee deals with regularly, but soon many of the stories would focus on individual staff – reporters, the weather forecaster, the society columnist, the printing staff, the obituaries writer.  The best of these is in this issue.

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Lee Travis gives a young journalist from a small-town a shot at working for the paper if he can bring in interviews with three notable recluses, and then as Crimson Avenger helps him do so, with Wing tagging along.  There appear to be all manner of dreadful crimes occurring in this tale, when in fact there are innocent explanations all around.  But neither this reporter, nor any of the others ever appear a second time.

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Detective 63 – Batman vs Mr. Baffle, Cliff Crosby and Larry Steele end

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Another generic Batman and Robin cover for Detective 63 (May 1942).  Mr. Baffle was good enough to mention, but not to show.

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Mr. Baffle is blatantly patterned after the character Raffles, the gentleman thief.  But it has been stated by one of the Bill Finger/Bob Kane/Jerry Robinson team that the Penguin was based on Raffles as well.  This leads me to wonder if the one time appearance of Mr. Baffle was really a rough draft of the Penguin, printed later.  Either that, or they wanted a version of Raffles that retained the qualities the Penguin lacked.

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Mr. Baffle arrives from Europe, and is already notorious.  Batman almost nabs him the moment he arrives.  But he eludes capture, trims his facial hair, and begins moving in high society, while scoping out the sites for his thefts.

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Linda Page gets to have significance in the story.  She spots the rough fingertips on Baffle, and doubts he is really part of the upper crust.  Snobbery as a super-power!

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When Baffle later tries to wiggle out of things by claiming to be secretly Batman, Linda exposes his lies.

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Baffle and Batman have a swordfight battle, and Baffle dives off a tower.  He claims he will return, but as he never did, he must have just gone splat on the ground.

Much of this character, including the swordfighting, would be reworked into the Cavalier.

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In his final tale, Cliff Crosby solves the murder of a circus lion tamer, which was done by coating the lion’s mane with nicotine.  Often the crimes were needlessly elaborate that way.

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With Cliff’s series ending so soon after the attack on Pearl Harbour, I suspect he joined the army, perhaps as a journalist, but did not survive the war.

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The Seal returns for Larry Steele’s final case.  His scheme has some creativity to it, as he uses blinding light to disorient the tellers when his men rob their banks.

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As with Cliff Crosby, one cannot help but suspect that Larry’s series ended because he enlisted immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbour.

 

Detective 57 – 24 Hours to Live

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Still going for generic covers with Detective 57 (Nov 41), despite a perfectly good story by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, that easily could have donated a scene.

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The story, “24 Hours to Live,” deals with a wealthy man who learns that he has been poisoned, and the horrible deaths he plots for those close to him, before he dies himself.  I want to say it’s like a reverse version of the movie “D.O.A.,” except it predates that movie by a decade.

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Once again, Linda Page functions as the link between Bruce Wayne, and the events of the story, as her friend is part of the family involved.

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The story is only ruined by the unreal and unneeded twists at the end.  I won’t spoil it, go ahead and read the last three panels for yourself.

Detective 55 – Batman fights atop a dirigible

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Batman looks pretty precariously balanced on that flying rail car on the cover of Detective 55 (Sept. 41).  Sadly, that scene is not part of the story in this issue.

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Bill Finger scripts, with Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson on the art, as usual.  The frighteningly impressive machine is a lie detector, which gets stolen by fifth columnists, plotting against the US.

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Linda Page has a small role, the connection between Bruce and her uncle, who runs an aircraft factory.  This uncle is never seen or heard from again.

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The story builds to a battle on a dirigible in flight.

Detective 54 – Batman sails the Batplane, Larry Steele goes on a date, Speed Saunders solves an in-flight murder, and Cliff Crosby heads to Europe

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No pirates on the cover of Detective 54 (Aug. 41), but lots in the interior as Batman faces off against Hook Morgan in this Bill Finger/Bob Kane/Jerry Robinson tale.

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Linda Page, who has been introduced a few issues earlier in Batman, makes her first appearance in Detective in this story.  A society girl, she is Bruce Wayne’s romantic interest for much of the 1940s.

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Hook Morgan just doesn’t come off as scary as he might, and I blame the hook for that.  It just doesn’t work for me.

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The Batplane demonstrates its ability to become a watercraft in this story.

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Larry Steele goes on a date in this story!  I realize that doesn’t sound exciting, but Delia is the only woman Larry has had in the series since Jeanne left after Big Jim’s death.

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She joins him for a rousing night of violence and mystery solving, but never appears again.  Guess it wasn’t her cup of tea.

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This is one of my favourite Speed Sounders stories, just for the vital clue. After an apparent suicide, Speed deduces it was murder and that the suicide note was a fake by the fact that it was written clearly.  If it had been written during the flight, the words would be jagged and bumpy.

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Cliff has a story where he sort of acts like the newspaper owner he is.  He heads to Europe to report on the bombing there, and remains there for the following issue, solving the theft of a painting.  The war encroaches.

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