Monday, August 03, 2009
Macfadden the villain
Bernarr Macfadden was a publisher in the first half of the Twentieth Century, made rich by a newspaper called The New York Graphic, and magazines like Physical Culture. Depending on whose version of the story you believe, Macfadden was also a rival of Amazing Stories publisher Hugo Gernsback, who forced Gernsback into bankruptcy. Online biographies of Gernsback say that the bankruptcy was orchestrated by Gernsback himself, who was quite a sharpy at business.
I was amused when I saw this strip, "Hip Knox, the Super Hypnotist" from Superworld Comics#3, 1940, published by Hugo Gernsback. It features a villain called Macfadden! Hip Knox is a hypnotist in the Mandrake-style, who apparently has a supernatural ability to hypnotize anything living. In this breathless adventure he's shot into space by Macfadden. Macfadden could have handled him gangster-style and had him shot, but in pulp magazines, comic books and movie serials the bad guy gives the good guy ample time to figure his way out of an elaborate death trap. It gives Hip Knox the chance for revenge by hypnotizing Macfadden into thinking he's a mermaid. Honest, guys, I couldn't make this stuff up.
Artwork is by Jack Alderman. He went on to draw crime comics for Charles Biro at Crime Does Not Pay, and supposedly late in his career drew Tweety and Sylvester for Dell Comics. And that is all I know about Jack Alderman. We've featured him before in a story of Burke and Hare, the infamous grave robbers and murderers.