Monday, November 05, 2018

Number 2255: Zippo, the crimefighter on wheels

Zippo, the crime-fighter who has wheels attached to his ankles and gets his mobility from the power of compressed air, was another small-time superhero, this time in eight issues of Hillman’s Clue Comics. When he was introduced in 1943 superheroes had mostly run their course, and a hero like Zippo probably didn’t make any comic book fan’s heart pound, so off he sped into oblivion on his carborundum wheels.

Zippo’s secret identity was detective Joe Blair. Did the creator of Zippo know that a real-life Joe Blair was a comic book writer? Maybe it was an inside joke. Also, so you know that I know, Zippo is the brand-name of a metallic cigarette lighter that can be carried in one’s pocket. My dad used a Zippo in World War II. I am sure many GIs knew what a Zippo was when they bought Clue Comics.

This Zippo story is drawn by longtime comics journeyman, Tony DiPreta. DiPreta drew comic books and comic strips until his retirement. DiPreta could draw straight superheroes (like Zippo), funny animals, teenage, crime comics like Crime Does Not Pay, and later on he drew the comic strip, Rex Morgan M.D. I first saw his signed work on a filler strip, “Vinnie the Vet,” in Beetle Bailey comic books. At the time I thought his art looked like that of Beetle Bailey’s creator, Mort Walker.  He was one of those guys who could draw in different styles, handy for comic books, which were known to change genres overnight. Tony DiPreta, born in 1921, died in 2010 at age 88.

This is Zippo’s second adventure, from Clue Comics #2 (1943).


BillyWitchDoctor said...

"Don't you require some sort of chassis?"
"What do you mean? These high-speed pistons simply connect my belt and my boots! That's all there is to it! Here, I'll show you..."
"No, wait, don--"

Rick Heg said...

I do agree with one thing: Zippo IS an odd figure! LOL!

Darci said...

This reminds me of when Tony Stark added roller skates to his Iron Man costume. They always seemed to throw off sparks. Now I know why: carborundum wheels!

JBM said...

Ol' Zippo was able to come out of the closet way back then. Good for him.

William Byron said...

it looks like some serious photo reference swiping on one or two of the faces in this story. very interesting.

darkmark said...

tony di Preta also drew the JOE PALOOKA strip for a time, and did it pretty well.