Posts tagged ‘Tubby Watts’

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

mf_107

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.

mf_107_001

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.

mf_107_002

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.

mf_107_003

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

mf_107_004

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.

mf_107_005

A fun little tale.  Glad this series carried on.

mf_107_006

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

mf_107_007

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!

mf_107_008

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.

mf_107_009

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.

mf_107_010

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

mf_107_011

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

Advertisements

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

mf_89

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.

mf_89_001

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.

mf_89_002

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.

mf_89_003

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.

mf_89_004

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.

mf_89_005

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.

mf_89_006

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.

mf_89_007

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.

mf_89_008

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

mf_89_009

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.

mf_89_010

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.

mf_89_011

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.

mf_89_012

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

mf_88

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.

mf_88_001

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

mf_88_002

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.

mf_88_003

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.

mf_88_004

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

mf_87

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.

mf_87_002

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.

mf_87_003

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.

mf_87_001

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.

mf_87_004

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

mf_87_005

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.

mf_87_006

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

mf_87_007

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.

mf_87_008

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.

mf_87_009

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.

mf_87_010

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.

mf_87_011

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

 

mf_87_012

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.

mf_87_013

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

mf_87_014

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

mf_87_015

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

mf_86_006

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

mf_86

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.

mf_86_001

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.

mf_86_002

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.

mf_86_003

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.

mf_86_004

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.

mf_86_005

More Fun 75 – Dr. Fate gets physical, Green Arrow vs Merlin, Black Jack returns, Johnny Quick vs Mr. Zero, and Percival shoves his way in

mf_75

The Dr. Fate story in More Fun 75 (Jan 42) is by the original team, Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman, but little of the original feel of the series remains.

mf_75_001

It does open as a typical story.  Inza needs Dr. Fate’s help with a friend imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.  Dr. Fate uses his crystal ball to learn of Inza’s need, but from there on this is pure down to earth stuff.

mf_75_003

Fate tracks the gang, beating up all the members along the way. The story is nothing but a loose frame work on which to hang scenes of Dr. Fate hitting people.

mf_75_002

Nor does the mastermind require anything magical to take him down.  Dr. Fate flies, but shows off no other degree of special powers.

mf_75_004

Green Arrow gets his first recurring villain in this issue, who goes  by the name of Professor Merlin, but also calls himself simply Merlin.

mf_75_005

He runs a crime college, sending his “students” out to steal cars.

mf_75_006

His men capture Green Arrow and Speedy, but Professor Merlin is impressed by the archer, and asks if they can join forces.  Pretty foolish, really.  Of course Green Arrow agrees, but simply sets him up and takes him down.

mf_75_007

Merlin does manage to escape, vowing revenge.  And he returns, the following month, in Leading Comics 1, the first story of the Seven Soldiers of Victory, to fight Green Arrow.

mf_75_008

Aquaman’s story has him aiding some south seas islanders whose home has been conquered by Black Jack.

mf_75_009

The area is rich in pearls, but Black Jack also has designs on Loana, the girl friend of Keiko.  Keiko is the guy Aquaman rescued from the giant clam, and learns all the backstory from.

mf_75_010

Interestingly, to get to Black Jack, Aquaman has to fight and kill a shark.  He does not even attempt to mentally control the creature.  Of course he succeeds, and frees the island from Black Jack’s control, although the villain returns a couple months down the road.

mf_75_011

Johnny Quick faces a mass murderer in this story, with great art by Jerry Robinson and Mort Meskin.  Mr. Zero has a skeletal face and head, and a tendency to kill of even his own henchmen.

mf_75_012

Johnny Chambers and Tubby Watts are filming at a baseball game when one of Mr. Zero’s men kills a guy, getting Johnny onto the track of these guys.  This brief scene pretty much establishes the way they will often be introduced into the story, the matching green suits.  Tubby’s hair has changed colour from dark brown to red, and his face altered slightly as well, into what would become his standard appearance.

mf_75_013

Lots of speed action, but still a costume that lacks a defining symbol.

mf_75_014

Some more big changes occur in this story by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Bailey.  Percival Popp is still trying to worm his way into Jim Corrigan’s life.

mf_75_015

The Spectre finally gets fed up with it, and takes Percival off to a different planet to threaten him, but that does no good.  Percival decides to hone in on Clarice Winston in an attempt to get closer to Jim.

mf_75_016

Clarice winds up in a coma, Percival thinks it has to do with a statue, but the Spectre realizes Percival is going to be diving near his corpse, still sitting on the bottom of the harbour.

mf_75_017

The Spectre goes to the Voice, who returns Jim’s body to life, with the Spectre now residing inside it.  He saves the day, and Percival’s life, and ends cuddling with Clarice.

It’s questionable whether Jim Corrigan really returned to life, or the body was simply freed from cement, and the Spectre force allowed to possess it, and have it act independently.  This story was completely ignored in the Ostrander/Mandrake series, in which the body is still encased in cement in the harbour.

More Fun 73 – Dr. Fate vs Mr Who, Green Arrow debuts, Johnny Quick vs the Black Knight, the Spectre vs the volcano, and Aquaman debuts

mf_73

With issue 73 (Nov 41), More Fun Comics became almost entirely super-heroes.  The Spectre, Dr. Fate and Johnny Quick were joined by Green Arrow and Aquaman, and the only other series still going were the long-running Radio Squad, and another Clip Carson adventure, this one in Hunduras.  After his debut, Clip had beaten up Seminoles in the Everglades, and actually helped an Inuit man in Alaska.  In the previous issue, he solved a murder while on vacation at a Dude Ranch in Arizona.  From this story till the end of his run, Clip’s adventures would be scattered around the globe.

mf_73_001

Mr. Who debuts in this Gardner Fox/Howard Sherman tale, another mad scientist, but with enough character to be fun.  And a “Z” solution that allows him to grow to giant size.

mf_73_002

I enjoy the page of Fate fighting with the giant spider, Mr. Who heading out to commit a crime, and leave the hero to die.  Dr. Fate is able to emit energy to free himself, but fights the spider bare-handed.

mf_73_003

Dr. Fate hurls him into the water at the end, but the story leaves open the possibility that he survived – and he most certainly did, appearing in the following issue.

mf_73_004

Green Arrow and Speedy debut, created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp.  Oliver Queen and Roy Harper both have brown hair in this story.  The colours of the two heroes hair, as well as their hats, gloves and boots would alter almost regularly all the way into the 1960s.

mf_73_005

Green Arrow and Speedy are already operating as a team, and mention is made of a previous case.  They already have what would later be called the Arrowcar, but here is termed the Arrowplane.  There would later be an Arrowplane that was an airplane, not a car.

While the obvious inspiration for the character is Robin Hood, in reality more stories and elements would be drawn from the Batman series.  Already there is a boy sidekick, and a vehicle named for the hero.

mf_73_006

The story is a standard mystery.  Murders among a group of historians, who share names with historical figures.  The archery is all straight forward as well, no trick arrows.

mf_73_007

I really like Ed Moore’s art on this Johnny Quick story that pits him against the Black Knight, who mysteriously goes around destroying statues.

mf_73_008

Johnny and Tubby Watts are filming when the Knight goes on a rampage, and Johnny trails him, but gets captured.

mf_73_009

The glass room makes a great trap, and foreshadows the distinctive way speed would come to be shown in this strip – multiple images of Johnny in the same panel.  He escapes and exposes the Knight as a robot, in the control of an unscrupulous art dealer.

mf_73_010

This is the final Spectre story by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Bailey before the series changes irrevocably.  And it has some weird moments, but is about par for the course.  The Spectre series had been inventive, as it was, but rarely lived up to the promise of its premise, at least partly because that was so grim and disturbing.

mf_73_011

Here wer get a story about giant volcanoes popping up in downtown Cliffland, caused by a mad scientist with a teleporter.

mf_73_012

There is a strange page, in which Clarice Winston tries to get Jim to propose, just a few issues after saying they should not be married.  I think we can add this together, as well as her pursuit of Jim so long after he broke it off years ago, can add to show her unstable mental state.

Being attacked by lions likely doesn’t help her in the long run either.

mf_73_013

In the end, the Spectre doesn’t even save the day.  It’s the bad guy’s assistant who sacrifices himself to destroy the villain and the machine.

And the final panel sees a dark foreshadowing.  Percival Popp – the Super-Cop.

What person, who enjoyed the dark, grisly elements of this series about a vengeful ghost looked at that picture and thought, yes, that is exactly what the series needs.

mf_73_014

Aquaman also debuts in this issue.  He’s just sort of swimming around the Atlantic in the middle of a world war, and is on hand when a ship gets sunk by a Nazi U-boat.

mf_73_015

Aquaman plunges into action, whups them Nazis, and they flee.  Then he gets the lifeboat to safety.

mf_73_016

He briefly relates his origin, which is far different from the one we know.  Here is a human, raised by his scientist father in an underwater city that may have been Atlantis.  The father used the science of that kingdom to alter his son, to make his able to live in the sea.

It’s a really cruel story of child abuse and isolation, so it’s no surprise when Aquaman immediately runs away after revealing it.

mf_73_017

As he defeats the nearby Nazis, we also see him use his ability to communicate with fish.

A barely defined character, but a series with a lot of visual potential, and a good name.

 

 

Tag Cloud