Monday, December 07, 2015

Number 1824: Dr Synthe has the Midas touch

Do you remember when I showed the first Dr Synthe story a few months ago (Pappy’s #1741)? At the end of that story he is asked to make gold, and in this story he does! He even sells $10,000,000 of it to the U.S. Government! What a pal!

Dr Synthe takes his powers from space itself, where he can gather particles of celestial matter and form objects, including body parts (see the aforementioned first story). For people needing organ transplants he would be a handy guy to have around, but then, as now, no individual lives mattered as much as gold. With it Dr Synthe and his friends can buy their own apartment building. What a fantasy that must have been for New York apartment dwellers of the time.

As usual, all that glitters, etc... Making gold just brings down more troubles, in this case a foreign power trying to kidnap him. In this episode Dr Synthe shows another power of his, the ability to grow tall, like the villain, the Claw, and another superhero of the era, Phantasmo. I scanned an entire book of black line Phantasmo reprints in 2012. Just check the link below.

This story is from Stars and Stripes Comics #4 (1941).

As promised, here is Phantasmo:


Daniel [] said...

Great snakes! The aliens aren't here to take our jobs nor to live off the dole! They're here to buy our apartment buildings!

How 'zactly, does one kidnap with a fleet of bombers?

And who, here, is going to commit the inexcusable act of claiming that it were “mighty big” of Dr. Synthe not to kill Fritz?

I observe that then as now, people wrote “fiancé” and “fiance” for “fiancée”. Granted that there has recently been greater possibility of resultant confusion.

And, then as now, people mistook “Gelt” (German and Yiddish for money) as etymologically related to “gold”, when, in fact, it came from a word meaning payment, or more generally extraction, and is related to “yield” and to “geld” (meaning castrate). (Yes, more fun facts to use at parties and during job interviews!)

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Oh, my... Moronia. I thought "Brutopia" was funny, but this... :D.
And the Double Cross symbol from "The Great Dictator", too. And the Moron Leader calls for his astrologer! I like it.
I still think Jim Shooter took heavy inspiration from Doc Synthe for his "Beyonder" character in the 80's.

Pappy said...

Daniel, not only that, the alien is here to devalue gold by brewing up synthetic stuff!

Pappy said...

None of these stories, as the old saying goes, were produced in a vacuum. Since the character takes on attributes of other characters (like Phantasmo) we can surmise the authors also stole ideas from movies.

Brutopia and Moronia are funny, and remind me that many years ago I saw a movie made in the forties about a country in South America called "Nazil," home to spies.

Ryan Anthony said...

If I remember correctly, the only thing that saved the first Dr. Synthe story was its sense of humor, and the same goes for this one. A protagonist that powerful is no fun unless he's having fun himself. Speaking of power, though: someone with such great power is only a hero if he uses it wisely and compassionately. But Dr. Synthe leaves only one of the enemy soldiers alive when it's obvious he could have done any number of nonlethal things to stop the attack. Therefore, he's not quite such a hero in my book.

rnigma said...

Not to be confused with "Nazilia," ruled by Popeye's pal King Blozo.

Daniel [] said...

There's an interesting stabilization feature of commodity money and of commodity-based money, of which few people and even few economists are aware.

If the supply of the commodity increases and is used as money, then money becomes less dear relative to everything else; its market value decreases. But the value of that commodity as money decreases against its own value in other use, which is to say that it is drawn away from use as money into those other uses. For example, gold would be drawn into increased use in dentistry, electronics, and ornamentation, reducing the money supply towards its previous level. (The reverse process would happen if a bunch of gold coins or ingots were consumed by Matter Eater Lad.)

So, yeah, Dr Synthe could have caused a significant price inflation, but it would take more gold than might be imagined. And, if he were clever, he could maintain price stability by making lots of other commodities.

Pappy said...

Daniel, once again I defer to your knowledge of the subject and say thank you for explaining it so well.

In thinking about it, a wad of paper money in my pocket would be useless if the government withdrew its support for its value. It could not be used for anything more than insulation against the cold, cold nights to follow, or fuel for a fire. On the other hand, gold can be used in many in-demand products, so okay, lesson learned.

Pappy said...

rnigma, erf! erf! As seen in Popeye, Vol. 2: Well Blow Me Down! from Fantagraphics. Thank you for reminding me.

Pappy said...

Ryan, life is cheap in the comics, and enemies are props (non-human) so its all right to kill them. I wish it were just fiction, but we are all seeing current real life examples of people who feel that way and some of them come at us armed and ready to kill.