Posts tagged ‘More Fun Comics’

Detective 3 – Hope Hazard, G-Woman, a Tong War, and Sally at the chapel in Spy

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Although the Hope Hazard story came sequentially before the other two stories from Detective Comics 3 (May 1937) that I am going to discuss in this entry, I am putting it last.  This is because of the peculiar nature of the entry.  Nuff said.

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Claws of the Red Dragon picks up as Bruce Nelson manages to get through the walled and gated entry. He runs into an American gangster, Joe Stucchi, and discovers they are in the midst of a Tong war between Imperial and Republican Chinese, both of whom want the remnants of the Red Jade Dragon.

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Bruce searches the house and sees quite a few murders before finding Sigrid, but as they try to find her father, they fall into the hands of Lu Gong, a descendant of the Mongol kings of China, and the one behind the kidnappings.

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Siegel and Shuster’s Spy really features Sally Norris this issue.  She has the title box all to herself!  The marriage is called off, as Sally is stolen from the chapel.

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The spy ring want to question her about Bart Regan’s true identity.  Serves her right for exposing him, but when Bart finds out he rushes to her aid.

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This just means the two of them are in danger as the chapter ends.  But take note of the position Bart and Sally are in, and remember it for the endings of later issues!

 

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This series is a puzzlement.  Hope Hazard, G-Woman begins as a serial about an FBI agent, but runs only one instalment in Detective Comics.  When it returns, nearly a year later and in the pages of More Fun Comics, Hope Hazard is the daughter of a retired secret service agent, and an amateur sleuth.

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The first story has missing airplanes and a mad scientist, Xavier, King of the Underworld in a beautifully drawn cave with all his followers.

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Hope and her pilot, Bill Littlejohn, are in danger of being caught by them, but this cliffhanger is just dropped when the series returns.

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Her second and final story was in More Fun 30 (April 1938).  But had I just entered it there, the contrast with this one would not have been clear.

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Here, Hope has inherited a  manor house, and is content to live a placid life, mostly sitting around watching while other people get involved in kidnapping, torture, theft and murder.

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This one page shows her at her most active, wandering around like a gothic heroine.  Hard to accept that this is the same woman from the caves.

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And though she finds the stolen jewel at the end, this feels more like a romance story set-up with her and the cop, rather than a “G-Woman.”

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To make things even more curious, in December of 37 (between the two stories), in New Adventure Comics  22 there was a one-issue tale,  G-Woman, about a blond FBI agent.  Given the change in artist, this could be meant to be Hope Hazard, but her name is June Justis.  She is also described as the “only female agent” on the force.

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This one fights dirty and shoots to kill.  Much harsher than either of the Hope Hazard stories.  But she is more suited to the “G-Woman” name than they were.

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So here we have Hope Hazard, G-Woman and not G-Woman, with a pilot or with her dad, who maybe is also Justine Justis.

And if you can make more sense of this than I did, good for you.

 

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More Fun 127 – More Fun ends

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More Fun Comics continued its run until issue 127 (Nov/Dec 1947), with its contents now more appropriate to it’s title.

By this final issue, Dover and Clover had all but lost the book to Jimminy and his Magic Book, which filled every other slot in the comic.

Unlike almost every other golden age DC title, this series was never revived, not even for a one-shot, under More Fun or even New Fun.

For the alert, however, there is a great cameo by New Fun 1, framed on the wall at Planet Krypton, in the final panel of Kingdom Come.  A fitting tribute to the comic book from which the entire DC Universe was born.

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 106 – Clark Kent, editor of the school paper

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In More Fun 106 (Nov/Dec 1945) we discover that Clark Kent is the editor of his high school newspaper!  Neither he, nor any of the other boys drawn in this story, look old enough to have entered high school, never mind to be in a high enough grade to be the editor.  And just last issue he was playing marbles against similarly aged kids.

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Still, this isn’t a bad story.  If anything, it’s got more drama to it than the previous tales.  An over-eager reporter sidesteps Clark and has his story implicating the milk delivery service in a series of crimes printed in the paper.  Clark and the boy get into trouble, but further investigation reveals the boy was right (although not for the right reasons).

Clark uses his x-ray vision and super-hearing to spy on those behind the crimes, and then flies in and beats up the hoodlums.

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And while he still wears no glasses as Clark, at least in this story he has no scenes with people in both identities in quick succession.

 

More Fun 105 – Superboy plays marbles

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Superboy gets his first cover story in More Fun 105 (Sept/Oct 1945), and the cover even reflects the story, as Superboy plays marbles against other kids.

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There is a bit more to this story, pencilled by Joe Shuster.  Clark overhears a local plastics firm wishing they could contact Superboy, and quickly changes clothes and goes to see them.  They explain that they lost a secret formula, which is now residing inside a child’s marble.  This is the fishiest story imaginable, but Superboy believes it without question.

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Superboy sky-writes an announcement about the big marbles championship, but of course wins all the kids marbles himself.  He claims at one point to be doing his amazing shots without using his x-ray vision, but is he really?  It’s critical to the plot that he acquire all the marbles.  No reason to think he wouldn’t cheat in order to do so.

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In the long run he plays fair, returning as Clark Kent in order to lose all the marbles back to the kids, once the people at the plastics factory find their “missing formula.”  At least Clark takes the reward money and uses it to build a playground for the scammed youngsters.

And once again, with no glasses, how believable is it that the kids do not recognize that Clark is Superboy?

More Fun 103 – Superboy fights a caveman, and Aquaman delivers a lecture

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Superboy goes on a camp out with friends in More Fun 103 (May/June 1945).  Once again, Clark is wearing no glasses to disguise his identity, and you have to wonder why Joe Shuster thought this was a good idea.  The glasses were always the barest nod to the concept of disguising one’s identity, but at least it was something!  Without the glasses, it is beyond reason that Clark’s friends do not recognize him as Superboy.

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As with the rest of Superboy’s run in More Fun, there is no real supporting cast at all.  Ill-defined and never recurring “friends,” and some similarly anonymous police.  Not even the Kents are regular players in this strip.

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The story in this one is pleasantly diverting.  Clark and his friends explore some caves on their camp-out, and find a caveman, who is really a reclusive scientist, and some criminals hiding out.

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Aquaman gets into conflict with a university professor of marine biology in this story.

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Aquaman heads to a college to see if there us anything more he can learn about sea life, but instead makes a dramatic appearance at a lecture, arguing with the professor about a fish called “chaetodom triagulum.”

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Aquaman brings the professor out to sea to settle their argument, and despite his knowledge, the professor is scared of the reality of the ocean.

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All is well at story’s end.  Aquaman proves himself right about the fish, but the professor is just impressed, not jealous.

The reason this story made it into my blog is the heavy similarity between this character and the Sea Sleuth, a short-lived supporting cast member in the early years of Aquaman’s run in Adventure Comics.

More Fun 102 – Superboy’s first adventure

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Joe Shuster stays on board, doing the pencils for the Superboy story in More Fun 102 (March/April 1945).

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It’s a simple tale that has escaped felons taking over a raft that Clark and other boys are sailing on.  Superboy does not wear glasses as Clark in this story, so the fact that the one kid thinks Superboy and Clark are the same is far from surprising.

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There are no elaborate powers in this story, just flight and strength.  But that helps keep it at a very simple level, suiting the age of the character.

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