Sunday, June 28, 2020

Number 2439: “I can shoot faster than you can slit throats!”

I saw a picture of a crime comics cover years ago, and the title stuck in my head: Seven Dead Men. It is an intriguing title, but what got my attention was the garish cover lettering.It was another example of a comic book fighting to command attention on newsstands, and probably succeeding. It came out in 1948, which was the year that newsstands saw an onslaught of crime comics. 

I didn’t see the actual comic until much later. The title is officially Complete Mystery #1, in small print. It is a private eye story; a tale of some hidden stolen loot and some gangsters getting bumped off by a guy looking for that loot. 

Best information on the creators are from Dr Michael J Vassallo, who knows more about the magazine and comic book empire of publisher Martin Goodman than anyone. In the Grand Comics Database he says that it is Gene Colan’s pencil art with an unknown inker, and script by Stan Lee. There are no credits for either the short “Tommy Tyme” story or the U.S. Post Office's requirement for two pages of text material, “The Stuffed Rubber.”

 I showed the lead story in 2014. These are new scans of the entire book.


Daniel [] said...

Okay, I postponed my comment long enough to give someone time to post a “stuffed rubber” joke, though what really stuck-out for me about the two-page text story was the idea that a warrantless search were acceptable if it yielded results. Ed Meese would have been happy enough, but the Exclusionary Doctrine held in 1948.

I am going to blame the unknown inker for the crude way in which Madge's tears were depicted ([2]). Yes, the art is more generally primitive, but the way in which the tears are drawn indicates a dreadful lack of talent.

Outside of stories set at or upon the sea, no comic-book character with an eye-patch is going to be minor. Of course, this reduces the story-telling to the level of British pantomime.

It would not have been true in 1948 but, for some decades now, a person who willingly participates in the commission of a criminal act during which a homicide is committed is legally guilty of the homicide. Which is to say that, had current law prevailed, Madge could be tried and convicted of first-degree murder.

I had a few thoughts in reaction to the advertisement for the bingo machine. Like craps, I don't think that many people would want to play much bingo without a prize. Of course, the bingo machines might be bought by entrepreneurial youth (or by boys dreaming of someday joining the priesthood). And 15 bingo cards would quickly be exhausted, but the advertisement didn't include an offer of more cards. Also, those machines are surely minor collectibles now.

That device for removing blackheads was still being advertised during most or all of the time that I was actively buying comic-books. My guess is that they didn't work well when new, and worked less well as they wore internally from use.

Protam was phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride. It doesn't work as advertised, and is dangerous for people with heart or thyroid conditions; but, in larger doses, it has some effect as an appetite suppressant.

Pappy said...

Daniel, I actually mentioned the "stuffed rubber" in my text, but edited it out. Why? I think I have established myself (too often, I believe) as still having a juvenile mind when it comes to something that sounds sexual. My remarks read to me like something from my junior high school years, which is where they originated.

Thanks to you for the health warning on is amazing what humans will ingest when they think it will make them lose weight. Years ago I heard what actually makes one lose weight: eat less and exercise more.

All the eye-patch guy needed was a pencil-thin mustache. Then we would have known for sure he was a scoundrel.