Monday, June 16, 2014

Number 1592: The one-and-done costumed heroes

“The Case of the Crumpling Skyscrapers” is the one and only appearance of Rocky Ford and Judith Allen, private investigators. At night they take on disguises, he as the Scarlet Nemesis, she as the Black Orchid. The gimmick is they don’t know each other when their masks are on. Duh. Don Markstein’s Toonopedia has this to say about the characters:

“. . . comic book characters can be awfully dense about not recognizing each other if there's a mask in the way . . . But their relationship was never given a chance to develop. The Black Orchid and The Scarlet Nemesis had only one adventure, then disappeared without a trace.”

The article credits George Tuska with the art. Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr credits Ken Battefield and an unknown inker for the job. I am with Jim on this — it is not a Tuska job.

There is another character in this story, an eccentric “retired millionaire,” Jim Crow. Crow wants to knock down all the buildings to make more room for the pigeons. Can it be that there was a writer and an editor in those days who did not recognize the name “Jim Crow” as being the term used for racial segregation in the American South? You can read more about Jim Crow. This story, from All New Short Story Comics #2 (1943) is a curiosity that leaves one puzzled.


Daniel [] said...

Aw h_ck, I hardly recognize myself with my glasses off! (Glasses on or off, the Hot Reporter Chick doesn't like me, so I leave 'em on most of the time.)

I'm more concerned that the Scarlet Nemesis doesn't understand that it would pervert the incentive system to take advantage of a vulnerability resulting from a good faith attempt to do the right thing. What sort of Instrument of Justice gets this sort of thing wrong?!?

Pappy said...

Indeed, Daniel, indeed, I say, head nodding in agreement.

As for recognition, others recognize me, glasses or not, yet I do not recognize myself in mirrors, window reflections or photographs. I am taller, slimmer, younger and yes, much more handsome than those images which stare back at me on those occasions when I look at them.

Patrick Dilley said...

Love it! I never knew about them!