Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Number 1876: Starr Flagg in South America: Jiu Jitsu, torture and atomic bombs

I don’t know if it was a requirement for scripter Gardner Fox to include girl fights in his Undercover Girl stories, but he managed to get them in. There is nothing wrong with a good girlfight (you Ronda Rousey fans know that), but Starr seemed to get one in during every undercover assignment she took. In this one, alas, we only get a panel of her flipping a sexy señorita on her back. But as a bonus we get torture scenes with a couple of men hanging by their wrists in a basement, and we see the lash marks across their backs. I guess for a 1948 crime comic that was a pretty good total of sex and violence for a six-page story.

There is a plot involving missiles with atomic war heads, and oh, yeah, for a little local color we get some guys in sombreros to let us know it is taking place south of the border, near a “small South American town.”

I scanned “The House that Hate Built” from the reprint in Undercover Girl #5 (1952). It was originally published in M.E.’s Manhunt #8 (1948). Art is by Ogden Whitney, and the cover is by Dick Ayers.

I have shown a couple of Starr Flagg adventures before. For some more sexy thrills and girls fighting just click on the thumbnail.


Daniel [] said...

I cannot imagine that it were a good idea to torch a building containing one or more missiles with nuclear warheads.

I also strongly doubt that South Americans generally speak or sub-vocalize in a sort of bastardized English when they are alone or amongst others who share their native tongues. (Given that an Anglophonic audience cannot be expected to understand Spanish or Portuguese (or one of the various other languages used by those native to that region) yet should know what characters are saying or thinking, the best practice is to translate the material into English as competent as the Spanish or Portuguese (or other language) that would be used.)

At the introduction of the Americans to the story, Jim provides very little information in the material presented, which suggests that he has little information to provide. Yet he declares the job to be too tough for Starr. I realize that the point is to remind us that Starr is brave, and to lay a foundation for reïnforcing the idea that she is competent; but mostly it just comes across as Jim rushing to an unwarranted conclusion about the toughness of the job.

When it comes to earlier work by Whitney, I recognize it primarily from how he draws women, and secondarily from the backgrounds. To me, his male figures seem very different from how he would later draw them.

Pappy said...

Daniel, when I was a GI we had periods where we stood guard at a nuclear storage site, and smoking was forbidden. No fires allowed on the site; matches and lighters were confiscated. Like you said, not a good idea.

That bastardized English shows up so much in comic books that I have (almost) stopped commenting on it. It was especially bad in comics featuring Germans who were ostensibly speaking German, but it came out as "Ach! Der Fuhrer vants you to get der chob done!" I don't even remember Col. Klink and Sgt. Schultz speaking in such a comic opera dialect during the run of Hogan's Heroes on TV, where I thought the accents were thickly laid.

Brian Barnes said...

Note to self: Next time I want help, don't charge the person I'm asking with a knife.

Whitney's sexy good girl art here is fantastic.

There's a running gag in Green Acres where whenever they tell a story about Oliver's time in WWII, and he's trapped in Germany, the Germans speak in that silly half-German accents, and everybody hears it as German, except Oliver, who hears it as English, and just can *not* explain it to anybody. That's why Green Acres was great. Now I'm off topic!

Anonymous said...

Swell Whitney art. That last panel with Starr & Jim sort of patting each other on the back as they walk away from torching a nuclear missile silo —wow. Might have been a little better if they were slapping the dust off their hands in duties dispensed and job well done —but never mind. Loved the whacky booby-traps in the house of bad repute. 6 pages and the world is saved. Another reason to love comics. Glad you're still in there, showing us these gems of comic art, Pappy.

Pappy said...

Brian, it is the absurdist humor of Green Acres that makes me appreciate it.

Thanks for the note.

Alicia American said...

Pappy I dunno if Undercover Girl's cover is very good, I culd tell she was a girl in only a few minits

Pappy said...

Alicia, yes, you have proven yourself to me to be observant.

Being a gentleman (ahem) I will refrain from making a joke about getting Starr Flagg "under covers..." (Snicker, giggle, wink-wink-nudge-nudge.)

Pappy said...

7f7, and I am glad to hear from you. Last I heard you were only getting Pappy's intermittently. So how is it working out for you now?

As I mentioned to Daniel, while in the U.S. Army in '67-'68 I helped guard a nuclear storage site for a week or so at a time, every three months or so. I never dusted my hands together when I left, but I washed them thoroughly, as if the act of washing could clean away any radioactivity I imagined could be leaking out of the underground bunkers to my guard shack.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, Pappy, that guarding a nuclear silo business seems like a job I would prefer not to have. Years ago, while on an adventuresome jaunt in the Southwest with my friend, John the Hermit, we pulled over to camp in south eastern New Mexico —not all that far from Carlsbad— at what turned out to be a defunct nuclear missile silo. Four fellows a little younger than us showed up with ropes and flashlights and started going through a sealed steel door that a rancher or somebody had cut an entrance hole with a torch. We talked with the guys who had just been spelunking and wanted to check out the missile silo. The hermit and I accompanied the group and into the 1960's era bunker we went. It was big down there but we only saw a modest portion. A steel descending staircase had been cut away and dropped into the creepy water pooled below. The nuclear emblem was all over the place —there was a reactor down there with huge bin that would dump sand on it in the case of a melt down. I wanted out of there pronto. I ended up sleeping on the missile silo doors that would swing open to let the missiles out. What our national paranoia has done... over and over. =sigh= I certainly admire our Daniel Œconomist in his more humanly compassionate comments on such things he makes from time to time. And your comments, too.

My access to the "Comments" section is haphazard. Everything I try, like shutting down my web browser then turning it back on does not bring consistent success. However, since my yiddle Apple computer got an update to its operating system, access seems better. Usually, if I keep trying things, I can get it. Sometimes I just have to come back another day.

Pappy said...

7f7, well, I hope you can read this. Now that adventure of yours is exactly the kind of thing I would not do. My fear gene is so strong I can be scared of things that aren't even likely to happen. Tempting fate by trespassing on a government installation is definitely not on my bucket list.

The nuclear storage site in Germany was away from a town, but set in the middle of a patch of woods. Our guard towers, every couple of hundred yards apart or so, were inside the fence, and right outside the fence was a dense wood. A large spotlight near my shack shined into the woods. One night I took my guard station and the light was shining on me, not on the woods. I called in to tell the sergeant of the guard. He said he would check it out. But then I heard people outside the fence. Of course my first thought was dire, like it was a set-up, and I was about to be overrun by Soviet agents out to steal some nukes. I could hear all kinds of noises, so I called the sergeant again...this time he actually left his post, came around the outside of the fence and checked. When he got close I could hear him yelling "Raus mit du!" He came to the fence and said, "It's okay; they're gone." I asked who it was. "Oh, just a couple of kids having sex."