Monday, April 30, 2018

Number 2174: Alias Mr America

Keeping up with the secret identities of Tex Thomson, who first appeared in Action Comics #1 (1938), takes some research. He was Tex, then he was Mr America (his alter ego in today’s post), and then Americommando. In that last incarnation it was President Franklin Roosevelt who directed him to take training and go kick Axis butt. I am lazy, so if someone else has a better handle on the history, I turn it over to them. Deejay Dutton has an entertaining history of Tex/Mr America/Americommando in Comic Book Bin.

Mr America shows up in a town being threatened by a group wearing purple hoods, led by a gang leader called the Purple. Local farmers are harassed by the Purple for selling wheat to a “a friendly power at war.” That means Great Britain. At the time this was published, 1941, there were groups opposing America joining the war in Europe. Mr Weston, questioned by Mr America, claims to promote “one hundred percent Americanism.” (That kind of statement can be taken many different ways. Beware. Someone else’s idea of what is one hundred percent Americanism can be very different than yours or mine.)

Bernard Baily drew the strip from its start. He began his long career in the thirties, was very active in the forties, both as an artist (with Jerry Siegel he co-created the Spectre, and with Ken Fitch co-created Hourman and Tex Thomson), and with Mac Raboy formed the Barnard Baily studio, a packager of contents for comics. He later went back to DC. He died in 1996.


Brian Barnes said...

This one's a bit of a jumbled read, but not bad for the 40s. Art is relatively dynamic. Now I just need to figure out how to pronounce "Americommando!"

Daniel [] said...


BillyWitchDoctor said...

Baily always made the narrative a bit of a jumble. I still remember my first Hourman reprint from the '70s, when the evil glowing "Dr. Glisten" commanded Hourman to (somehow) suspend himself in mid-air and Hourman (somehow) countered this effect by reflecting light off his neck-worn hourglass. There was no explanation whatsoever given for either phenomenon. But his artwork was always so much fun to look at, and many of his Spectre stories were absolutely, delightfully insane. Anyone who appreciates the work of Fletcher Hanks should be a fan of Bernard Baily.