Monday, January 11, 2016

Number 1834: Doll Man, conked by the Black Gondolier

In the United States research is ongoing into the problem of head trauma. Not only from accidents, combat injuries and assault, but also concussions from sports injuries. Unlike old movies, detective novels and television shows where the hero often gets some blunt force applied to his noggin and comes out with little more than a headache, it is a serious problem which leads to permanent consequences. So when the Black Gondolier of this episode from Doll Man #1 (1941) knocks Doll Man unconscious, the tiny hero is lucky the villain didn’t take his head off, much less cause him some major brain damage.

That is what being a superhero is all about! They can dish it out, and they can take it! The Black Gondolier, though...he isn’t so lucky. He is a one-and-done bad guy (sorry for the spoiler).

Artwork credited by the Grand Comics Database to Rudy Palais, who put a “?” after his name because they aren’t sure.

Here is another story from Doll Man #1. Just click on the thumbnail.


Daniel [] said...

Yeah, popular crime fiction that was expected to be ephemeral — pulp fiction, radio drama, and comic books — resorts to a lot of blows to the head, with the innocents and good guys somehow no worse for the wear in the long run. The theory seemed to be that anything that didn't kill the victim would produce no more that unconsciousness followed by a temporary headache. I've been internally wincing at these moments ever since middle school, when I read an article in Science Digest about what happened to the brains of boxers.

I've elsewhere objected that Martha seems to have been inconsistent in her awareness that Darrel were the Doll Man. But now I realize that this might be explained in terms of her having received a blow to the head. (I cannot say that I like that thought, though.)

Meanwhile, Dane's objection, in 3:2 that gambling were illegal doesn't wash if the gambling were outside the territorial waters of the United States, and it would be pretty silly to have a casino operating on a ahip while it were inside those waters.

Personally, unless I see drops of viscous perspiration, I can't be sure that the art is by Rudy Palais.

Kirk said...

Well, since Doll Man has the strength of a full-grown man, perhaps he also has the resilience of a full-grown man as well--a full-grown comic book man, that is.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Funny story. I've seen a lot of silly villains, but seriously... the "Black Gondolier"!
I wonder who wrote this, and what kind of pot did he smoke. Or maybe he was remembering his honeymoon in Venice?
It occurs to me that a black Gondola is not exactly "the fastest boat" when you have to dash off after a raid, but I grant you, it is a peculiar sight.
"Help! We've been robbed by... the Black Gondolier!". By the time the cops stopped laughing, he was gone!
A hilarious villain, if I ever saw one.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

Batman's noggin has been smashed more times than I care to think--on one occasion, a stray bullet snapped a release and brought a fire escape's ladder straight down on his skull, resulting in a lump on his scalp so large cops could see it under his cowl and a brief case of "comic book" amnesia...all going completely untreated, of course. It should have cracked his head-bone in two like a walnut.

Movies being no different, Bruce Willis' character in the Die Hard franchise or Mel Gibson's from the Lethal Weapon films shouldn't be able to move by the end of the second film because of all the tissue, joint and nerve damage, abundance of scar tissue, organ failure, and so forth. At least Avengers: Age of Ultron introduces some sci-fi tissue-regeneration jazz-hands to keep Hawkeye jogging along.

@Kirk: Ah, kind of like Ant-Man's disbeliefsuspendium process--that "shrinks the space between atoms" to the point of subatomic shrinkage (uh...) and disperses mass to the point a man can comfortably carry a military tank in his pocket, but lets a guy only a quarter-inch tall slug with the force of a bullet. (I know I'm being way too hard on a very fun movie, but dammit, my big toenail could've ginned up a better explanation of how Pym particles work.)

Pappy said...

J D, the silliness factor is probably why the Black Gondolier had only one appearance.

Do you mean that there are no gondolas drag-racing through the watery streets of Venice?

Pappy said...

Billy, (warning, another Pappy reference to his childhood) I remember watching old Western movies on television and seeing guys get cracked on the conk by the butts of six-guns. The Lone Ranger must've taken a hundred or more hits like that. My mother caught me just before I bashed my little brother with the butt of my Hopalong Cassidy cap gun.

He was bare-headed, and I am glad she stopped me. Usually we wore our cowboy hats when we tried that trick, so any bashing was usually deflected by the hat.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

No, no more racing.
Polluted water is so vitriolic that small boats' hulls just melt.

Pappy said...

J D, I think I've seen someone racing through Venice...James Bond? Jason Bourne?

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Roger Moore if I recall. "Moonraker" was a cartoonish flick indeed

James Kirk said...

Great Doll Man story. I love all stories. Reminds me a little bit of Ant Man. I have to wonder if this story was created before the movie, "The Incredible Shrinking Man".

Wish you had some vintage Wildcat stories or Kid Eternity ones. I remember those 1970's DC Hundred Pagers with the reprints. They gave you a good sense of history with new and reprinted stories.

Kirk said...


The film version of The Incredible Shrinking Man was made in 1957, based on a paperback original novel by Richard Matheson called The Shrinking Man.

Doll Man was created by Will Eisner, though my understanding is he only wrote the first few issues and then moved on to other things (most notably The Spirit.) Eisner may have been inspired by the 1936 film Devil-Doll, which has Lionel Barrymore shrinking people.