Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Number 2141: Check this out: “The Kissing Bandit”

Edna Murray was known as “the Kissing Bandit” for a kiss she gave a victim of a robbery she committed. She was an all around public enemy, whose associations were with criminals, as she is portrayed in this story from Avon’s Gangsters and Gun Molls #2 (1951).

Like most “true” crime comic book stories, there is a mix of some fact and some fiction. Some names are changed, but Edna’s is not. I have wondered in this blog if changing the names of criminals in crime comics was a way to avoid being sued by that person if they were still alive when the comic was published. But Edna lived until 1966, and she is named, so I guess my theory is still just that. Edna was involved with the infamous Barker-Karpis gang in that late Wild West era of the early 1930s. She went to prison. She was involved with Volney Davis (re-named “Owney” Davis in the story), who went to Alcatraz, and was eventually released. He died in 1979, not in a shootout with the police in front of Edna, as portrayed in the story.

The story is drawn in a striking Wallace Wood style by artist Sid Check (his name is on a teller’s window in the splash panel). Despite appropriating the style of someone else, Check was a talented artist about whom not much has been published. Alex Jay of the Tenth Letter of the Alphabet blog, has done an outstanding job of collecting what is known of Check in the public record. Check left comics about 1958. His comic book career began about 1950, and he was part of that talented group of comic book men, including Wood. Check was born in 1930, and died just short of his 72nd birthday in 2002.


Brian Barnes said...

Wow, that has a LOT of Wally Wood in that. It seemed a lot of people that worked with Wood either picked up a bit of his style or became really good at aping it.

As for the mix of fact and fiction, I'd say fiction won out by about 80%!

Something I just noticed in all these crime comics that have to do with women -- there's almost always a scene with the moll lying around on a couch!

The Seditionist said...

IIRC, Check did a war story for Archie Goodwing at DC.