Posts tagged ‘More Fun Comics’

More Fun 101 – Green Arrow drives the Arrowcar, Superboy debuts, and the Spectre ends

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Green Arrow and Speedy share the cover to More Fun 101 (Jan/Feb 1945), with no hint at all that this issue also includes the debut of Superboy.

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An unusually dynamic splash page for the Green Arrow story in this issue.  The story deals with a formula for synthetic silk, and hoods trying to steal it.

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What makes this story worth inclusion is something else entirely.  Catch the upper panel in which the car is called the Arrow Car, instead of the Arrowplane!  It was a long time in coming, but from here on the car is always called a car, not a plane.

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Towards the end, the phrase arrow-lines is used again, to describe the ropes attached to the arrows.

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Superboy makes his debut in this issue, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  This brief story just details his origin.

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We get to see a bit more of the planet Krypton, rarely shown in these early days, as well as Jor-El and Lara.

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The elderly Kents adopt the young boy, and the story cuts to Clark looking maybe 10 or 11 years old.

Up to this point, there had never been the notion that Clark used his abilities before becoming an adult, and the Superboy character is the first step towards the notion of multiple, parallel, universes within the DC Universe, as this Superboy must be a different person to the Superman currently appearing in Action Comics and his own book.

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The story ends with young Clark showing off by lifting a car – the same activity as the cover of Action 1, which I doubt was just coincidence.

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To make room for the new Superboy series, the Spectre’s strip was brought to an end with this issue.  A year or more too late in my view.

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As had become the norm, this is primarily a story about Percival Popp and some wacky mix-ups with real gems and fake ones.

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The Spectre was no longer a part of the Justice Society by the time his series was cancelled, and his return had to wait until his appearance in Showcase in the mid-60s.

More Fun 98 – Dr. Fate ends

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Dr. Fate goes out with a whimper, not a bang, in More Fun 98 (July/Aug 1944).  I credit the unnamed nurse on the first page as being Inza.  The last time we definitely saw Inza, she was training to become his “assistant.”  In a number of stories, Kent Nelson has been shown with a nurse, but she is never identified.  I see no reason to think this would be anyone other than Inza.

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The story deals with a child patient who is kidnapped by gangsters, because he resembles their midget boss.

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It’s a dull little tale, nothing original about it.  And nothing very Dr. Fate about it either.

Dr. Fate had already been dropped from the Justice Society line-up in All-Star Comics, so this was his final appearance in the Golden Age.  He returned, along with the Justice Society, in the pages of Justice League of America.  His full helmet was back, and his powers stronger than ever.  Inza was back a few years later, ageless due to the presence of Dr. Fate.

More Fun 96 – Dr. Fate forgets his magic

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As much as Dr. Fate had been de-powered, it seems it wasn’t enough.  More Fun 96 (March/April 1944) sees him visited by a Chaldean wizard, (but seemingly not Nabu) who removes his memories of his magic.  Perhaps it’s all a bad dream brought on by sleeping in a helmet, but it seems to happen.

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Dr. Fate discovers that without his magic skills, he’s really not of much use.  He still has an air of authority, which he uses to rally a crowd at a cave-in.

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At the end, he simply bluffs his way against the armed villain.  Sad.  Once again, I am left wondering why they even bothered to continue this series, and the Spectre, when they so clearly didn’t want them to be what they were.

In later continuity, this story more or less matches Nabu removing most of Kent Nelson’s powers when he gives up the full helmet.

More Fun 92 – Dr. Fate vs The Clock

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One of Dr. Fate’s lesser foes, the Clock, makes his second appearance, in More Fun 92 (July/Aug 1943).  Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman handle the writing and art.

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The story is pretty thin.  The Clock and his men pull off robberies of millionaires homes, by having the Clock dressed up as a mummy in a case as their inside man.  Fate gets onto it, and quickly figures it out.

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Much of the art on the story is good, but the few panels showing Dr. Fate escaping from a mountain of sand really don’t work.

More Fun 91 – Mr. Who captures Dr. Fate

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Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman bring back Mr. Who in More Fun 91 (May/June 1943), in a story set chronologically after his appearances in All-Star Squadron.

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He invents a shrinking formula, and forces it on Dr. Fate, who then gets stuck in a bird cage.  Mr. Who uses it as well, to evade capture when their robbery goes awry.

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Dr. Fate gets to fight the cat, and later manages to take down Mr. Who as well, despite his lack of the powers he needed to beat Mr. Who before.

More Fun 90 – Jim Corrigan goes to war, but the Spectre stays behind

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Jim Corrigan leaves the Spectre series in More Fun 90 (April 1943).  For many issues now he had been reduced to less than a sidekick for Percival Popp, only appearing at the beginning and end of stories.  There had even been a couple of issue that had only Percival and the Spectre.  Now, that was to be case for good.

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Jim gets accepted to Officer’s Training School, and in less than a page is packed and off to go fight Nazis.  The Spectre stays behind, for no logical reason, and becomes permanently invisible.

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The Spctre continues to run interference for Percival Popp, effectively becoming nothing more than his guardian angel.

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The visuals are decent, but the series has strayed so far away from it’s conception.

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.

 

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