"The Sandman!: "The Tarantula Strikes"": A mysterious criminal wearing a black hood, known as the Tarantula, breaks into the lavish estate of movie actress Vivian Dale and kidnaps her. Wesley Dodds learns of the abduction and dons the costume of the Sandman. He l
- That violet odor? This sprinkled sand? The Sandman's been here!
Appearing in The Sandman!: "The Tarantula Strikes"
- Leslie Humphries (First appearance), Dodds' butler
- the Tarantula (First appearance)
- Tom (Single appearance)
- Vivian Dale (Single appearance)
Synopsis for The Sandman!: "The Tarantula Strikes"
A mysterious criminal wearing a black hood, known as the Tarantula, breaks into the lavish estate of movie actress Vivian Dale and kidnaps her. Wesley Dodds learns of the abduction and dons the costume of the Sandman. He locates the villain's whereabouts, in one of many hidden rooms, in Miss Dale's own mansion, and apprehends the Tarantula, while also freeing Vivian. He unmasks the kidnapper to reveal Vivian's house guest, a man named Crossart.
Appearing in Barry O'Neill: "The Suicide of Major Duval, Part 3"
- Count Guniff (Final appearance; Dies)
- Guniff's band (Final appearance)
- Major Fonteau
- Jean LeGrand
- French military aviators
Synopsis for Barry O'Neill: "The Suicide of Major Duval, Part 3"
Barry and Inspector LeGrand were tied to a post and splashed with a liquid from a pail, which Count Guniff, international spy, said was gasoline. He then lit a match and touched it to their clothes with the intent of burning them alive, but the flame wouldn't catch. It appeared that the pail had mistakenly been filled with ordinary water, leading to a lucky break for Barry.
Outside, the Army's flyers have tracked down the Count's secret hideout, within a cave, and now stand before the entrance. On their captain's orders, the men charge into the gaping maw, firing tear gas grenades. Count Guniff is alerted by the sound of gunfire and decides to finish Barry and LeGrand off now, with his sidearm. But he is shot in the back right before pulling the trigger, by a flyer that just then bursts into the room. Once the hideout is secured, Barry, LeGrand, and the team of pilots grab the plans that the Count stole, and escape to their planes. The cave is then destroyed through bombings as the team fly back to army headquarters.
Appearing in Federal Men: "The Tarryville Counterfeiters"
- Jake (Single appearance)
- Mike (Single appearance)
- Nick (Only appearance; dies)
- Motorcycle Police
Synopsis for Federal Men: "The Tarryville Counterfeiters"
Steve Carson is sent to the small town of Tarryville when the F.B.I. receives evidence that a gang of clever counterfeiters are operating in the area. He begins his search by asking around at small shops and convenience stores if any phoney money had been passed around. At one small food-mart, he notices a suspicious type leaving right after he asked the shopkeeper about the money. Feeling the guy might know something, Steve trails him in his car until they arrive at a farmhouse on the outskirts of town. Parking a little way down the road, he creeps up to one of the house's windows and peers inside. Three men are arguing about which one of them let the Feds get word of their operation. Then ends when one of the men confessing and being shot. A noise from Steve sends them outside to investigate. Using surprise tactics, he is able to knock out two of the men, but an unseen third hits him in the head with a block of wood.
Steve wakes up in the backseat of a car being driven by the men he had just fought. The counterfeiters were going to drive him to a remote area where there won't be anyone around to witness his death. A pair of unsuspecting motorcycle cops rode up behind their car, giving Steve only one chance. He was careful not to alert his captors attention as he slowly grabbed some of the counterfeit money out of the bag and tossed it out the window. The criminals became anxious as all of a sudden, the police switched on their sirens and began to chase them. The car's tires are shot out, making the driver swerve into a tree. After a long explanation, the police offer their thanks to Steve for helping them catch the ones responsible for the town's counterfeiting ring. He replies by telling them one of his favorite mottos, that crime just doesn't pay!
Appearing in Jack Woods: "Wolf Rucker's Trap, Part 2"
- Old Man
- Old Wife
- Wolf Rucker (Dies)
- Verne Starett (Dies)
- Marty Snell (Dies)
- Jack's Mustang
- Old West
Synopsis for Jack Woods: "Wolf Rucker's Trap, Part 2"
Uncovering Wolf Rucker's plot to kill him for murdering Scar Tortilla, Jack Woods escaped out the ranch house window and made a break for his steed. Wolf and Snell called out the others and a firefight ensued, as they attempted to keep him from getting away. Jack shot back, and hit Snell in the chest, felling him.
With nowhere else to go, Jack spurred his mustang in the direction of the old man's cabin, that he had been to earlier. Once again, he entered the residence of the old man and his wife, explaining to the frightened couple how he had just escaped from Wolf Rucker's ranch. But they didn't buy his story, because Wolf was the one who rented out the house to them, and he died some time ago. The man brought out the box, the very same box that Scar had been after, and said he had sent it to them before his death. Inside was the deed to the home, along with a wanted poster with the phony Wolf Rucker's face on it, identifying him as 'Verne Starett'. Jack put the pieces together: Ranch owner Wolf sent the poster to warn the old couple that the criminal was in the area, after Starett tried to rob him. He then likely came back later so he could kill Rucker and steal his name and business, basically steal his entire identity. The door was flung open, and there was Starett/Rucker, holding a gun.
He advanced, Jack shot, Starett slumped over the table, letting his blood drip over his "WANTED" portrait. The sheriff appeared soon after, at first accusing Jack Woods of murdering one of their ranchmen, but then the old man showed him the Wanted Poster. Realizing that Verne Starett had been playing the entire town for saps, the sheriff changed his tune, and thanked Jack for his help. The old couple offered to let him stay a few days, but Jack just shook his head and got back on his mount to seek further adventure.
Appearing in Captain Desmo: "Captured By Col. Benback, Part 2"
- Gabby Maguire
- Colonel Benback (Final appearance)
- Butts (Final appearance)
- Crusher (Final appearance)
- Colonel McAllister
- Desmo's airplane
- RAF patrol planes
Synopsis for Captain Desmo: "Captured By Col. Benback, Part 2"
Gabby had been kidnapped by some slavers, and Captain Desmo took to the skies to search for his missing friend. Desmo spots a mine that doesn't appear on any of his maps. Miners shoot at him for no good reason. One of the bullets makes a hole in the gas tank and he is forced to make an emergency landing not too far away. Meanwhile, down in the mine, Gabby is repeatedly whipped for working too slow, until he suckers one guard to step in too close, and punches him out. He then rallies up the other slaves to rise up and overthrow the cruel Col. Benback. They all start to storm out of the mine. Captain Desmo reaches the scene on foot, and lends a hand by shooting a slaver, who was going for a machine gun. All the other slavers fall to the former slaves' vengeance. Seeing the futility of any further resistance, Benback grabs a bag full of gold and attempts to sneak away. But the revolters quickly catch up to the Colonel and apply the whip to him. At this moment, a patrol of British planes arrives, led by Colonel McAllister (called earlier, by Desmo), ready to arrest the thugs. He tells them that Col. Benback was a deserter, for whom they had been searching, for a long time. The slaves are each accounted for and taken back to their homes, while the outlaw mine operators are taken into custody. Captain Desmo and Gabby Maguire, in the meantime, have an appointment to keep at the local tavern.
Appearing in Don Coyote: "A Playboy In King Arthur's Court, Part 3"
- Unnamed Man from the Future
- Several 1940's Inventions
Synopsis for Don Coyote: "A Playboy In King Arthur's Court, Part 3"
Almost two years have passed since Don Coyote's 20th century pal has dethroned the ruler of the British Isles and set himself up as King! During these two years, he has had two thousand of his subjects build up an ultra-modern laboratory in which he is re-inventing many gadgets from his own time in the 1940's, for profit.
Appearing in Bulldog Martin: "Slow Motion's Double"
- Bulldog Martin (First appearance)
- Sea Admiral
- Slow Motion
- Ringer (Single appearance)
- Palfry (Single appearance)
- Hefty (Single appearance)
- Lillian Fenton (Single appearance)
- Naratoga Track
Synopsis for Bulldog Martin: "Slow Motion's Double"
Bulldog Martin arrives at the Naratoga Horse Racing Track in search of Miss Lillian Fenton, who had asked him to come and see her horse work out this morning. As he passes one of the nearby stables, Bulldog overhears a conversation between two horse race fixers, who are using paint to disguise one racehorse as another. Unfortunately for Bulldog, the men spot him eavesdropping and overwhelm him with two against one. Knocked unconscious, he is bound and carried to the thugs' car and driven to a deserted farmhouse that is now their hideout. A profoundly rotund, menacingly tall man, nicknamed "Hefty", meets them as they force Bulldog into an empty bedroom upstairs and locked the door. Hefty is put in charge of guarding him while the other two thugs go back to watch the race, and to make sure that the fastest horse, Poison, doesn't get a lead. Bulldog overhears everything, and recognizes Poison as the name of Lillian's horse. Feeling something poke him, he realizes that the hoodlums forgot to search his pockets, as he still has his nail file. With some doing, Bulldog is able to cut through his ropes before his watchman, Hefty, bursts through the door. The two men fight, ending with the giant brute getting pushed down the stairs, out cold.
At the race, the horses round a curve, where one of the sinister men watches with a suspicious looking camera. As Poison begins to overtake the lead horse, the man raises the camera, seemingly to take a harmless photograph. But before the shutter can snap, Bulldog Martin tackles the man to the ground. Race authorities rush over to pull them apart, and begin to escort Martin off the grounds, but he tells them to examine the camera before they make any decisions. When he breaks it apart, the authorities are shocked to see a tiny syringe on a spring, filled with a lethal poison, and set to shoot through the lens area when the shutter is activated. Their plot foiled, the men are arrested.
Appearing in Socko Strong: "The Flying Dutchman, Part I"
- Socko Strong (First appearance)
- Jerry Indutch (First appearance)
- The Champ (Single appearance)
- Weapon Smugglers (Single appearance)
- Tribal Chief (First appearance)
- his warriors
- Brazitinia (destination, not reached)
- Tropical Island
- Smuggling Steamship
Synopsis for Socko Strong: "The Flying Dutchman, Part I"
Jerry Indutch, photographer for the local paper, is slugged to the ground by the boxing champ after trying to take his picture. Socko Strong steps in and chastises the man for assaulting an innocent fan. The champ turns on him and throws a few punches his way in a rage, but Socko dodges the attack and counters with a strike of his own that lands the boxer on the floor in a daze. He helps his friend Jerry up, and the two start to leave the gym. But two of the champ's cronies make sure they don't get far, striking Jerry and Socko on the head with leaden pipes. Their unconscious forms are loaded into a car and driven to the docks, where the men tell the captain of a shady-looking crew that they found them some new workers.
When Socko and Jerry come to, they find themselves in a boiler room with a sinister man standing over them. They are ordered to start loading coal into the furnace or receive a gun lashing. Up above on a catwalk are two crewmen discussing a cache of weapons they were keeping in the cargo hold. Overhearing this, Socko figures out that they've been put to work aboard a ship that's smuggling weapons. After an hour, Jerry collapses from the heat. The guard yells and prods him with the butt of his gun threateningly, angering Socko to the point where he knocks out the guard and helps his ill friend to his feet, taking him up to the outside deck for some fresh air. Another crewman spots them and attacks, being knocked by Socko into the sea valve which breaks off, causing water to start flooding the ship. The entire crew is sent into a panic. The captain announces for everyone to start manning the lifeboats. But when the two pals try to join the others, the first mate forces them back with his gun, making them stay on board for causing the trouble!
With sinking hearts, Socko Strong and Jerry Indutch watch the lifeboats disappear in the distance. Suddenly there is a terrific explosion as the water reaches the ship's boilers. Socko and Jerry are hurled clear of the sinking vessel. They are able to climb onto a large piece of driftwood, where they float for many hours, straight through nightfall.
Next morning they find that they have drifted onto an island, where the sound of drums draws them in. Deeper in the jungle brush is a tiny native village. The villagers start attacking Socko and Jerry on sight, scaring the meek photographer into believing they are cannibals. But as Socko fights off each of the warriors with his fine boxing skill, the impressed chief orders a halt so he can better examine the intruder who enters his village unannounced. He was a man who admired strength in others, and so he offers Socko the position of being his personal bodyguard. Wanting to avoid any further aggression from the tribe, Socko accepts for the time being, until they are able to find a way back to the USA.
Appearing in Skip Schuyler: "The Kidnapping of Donna Carnochan"
Supporting Characters: Villains:
- Kola Hoa (Single appearance)
- Unnamed Kidnapper (Only appearance; dies)
- Major Barton (Single appearance)
- Professor Anthony Carnochan (Single appearance)
- Donna Carnochan (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Skip Schuyler: "The Kidnapping of Donna Carnochan"
The huge transport plane bearing Skip Schuyler drones over the Pacific towards Hawaii, where it lands by the Army base on Oahu. Skip heads straight to Major Barton's office, where he gets introduced to the inventor, Professor Anthony Carnochan, owner of a pineapple plantation, who claims to have made an astounding discovery. Later, while driving Mr. Carnochan to his plantation, Skip asks him just what it was that he discovered. Carnochan explains that he has invented a new type of explosive, with a single tiny capsule having the destructive power of a sixteen inch artillery shell! It would spell doomsday if it fell into the hands of an aggressive nation, which is why he's been conducting his experiments in utmost secrecy.
They arrive at the professor's rambling white plantation house, and in the large entrance hall, Carnochan calls his daughter, Donna. Ominously, there is no response. Upstairs, he finds that his lab had been broken into, drawers are yanked out, test tubes are broken, and papers are strewn everywhere. Carnochan quickly rushes to the desk lamp and unscrews a plate on the inner side of the shade, revealing a piece of paper hidden underneath, then sighs with relief. On the hidden sheet is the formula, and the ransacker has missed it. Skip points out a note on the room's lampshade, left by the would-be thief, who has kidnapped Carnochan's daughter, and expects the formula to be delivered, quickly.
In a panic, the professor races down the stairs calling his daughter's name. He trips over something by the front door and finds a piece of angora wool from Donna's favorite sweater. Skip has found a similar piece in the upstairs hallway. They conclude that whoever had grabbed Donna failed to notice that she was leaving a trail behind, for her father to follow. The two rush out into the jungle, spotting another bit of the material, and then farther off was another. They follow these tiny clues across the plantation grounds, and up a rocky path. Skip has been noticing that each bit of wool is found at intervals of about twenty yards. As they round a bend in the path, Skip quickly pulls the professor into the brush, narrowly avoiding being sighted by a large Hawaiian native. Carnochan recognizes him as his plantation's foreman, and he's standing on guard outside a cave.
Skip carefully works his way around the man and onto the top of the cave entrance, then leaps onto the Hawaiian's broad back, crashing him to the ground and then punching him out. But another man runs out of the cave to investigate, gun in hand, behind Skip. The man takes aim, but is felled by Carnochan with a shot through the heart. They check out the cave, and find Donna tied up and gagged, in the back of the cavern. She's rescued and the authorities are called in.
Appearing in Rusty and His Pals: "The Pirate Ship, Part 15 of 15"
- Steve Carter
- Ichabod Slade (Final appearance; Dies)
- Long Sin (Apparent Death)
- The Captain (Apparent Death)
- Hunch (Apparent Death)
- Alfred P. Forrest
- Duchess's Seaplane
Synopsis for Rusty and His Pals: "The Pirate Ship, Part 15 of 15"
Steve and Rusty held off Sin Fu's and Ichabod Slade's men from their cover point at the top of a hill. But it seemed that their luck ran out as Slade managed to get behind the duo and aimed his gun at their backs. Steve was kept centered in the gun's sight as the trigger was squeezed. At that exact moment, an earthquake rattled the island, throwing Ichabod's aim off by scant inches. All parties were temporarily confused when the shaking wouldn't let up, the entire island rumbled and started forming cracks. Alfred Forrest shouted for Steve and Rusty to get a move on, as the island was starting to sink back beneath the waves, whence it had first risen. As the three of them rushed to where the others were waiting, Steve realized that the only boat on the island had been destroyed when they crashed it into a rock. But the Duchess reminded them that she still had her seaplane parked by the nearby beach, and she could fly them all out of danger. Rusty and the boys are in agreement, so Steve and Alfred decide to go along with her, after all she had already betrayed Slade by rescuing them.
Not far away, Sin Fu got the same idea as the Duchess, and led his companions in a race to the plane, all the while the island cracked and crumbled around them. Steve's party reaches the beach first, with Ichabod Slade stepping up in front of them seconds afterward, with a gun. His attention was on Steve, feeling wrathful towards the man that ruined his smuggling operation, not paying any attention to Forrest, who grabbed the machine gun from Rusty and fired a round into Slade's chest. The Duchess, meanwhile, helped Specs and Tubby into the plane before she herself got into the pilot's seat. Steve, Rusty, and Forrest followed behind, just as Sin Fu and his gang appeared through the foliage. They opened fire, as the Duchess struggled to get the engine to start. With one great sputter, the propeller spun to life as the plane began to roar forwards, gaining altitude as the wind gathered beneath its wings. With one final cry, Sin Fu's men called out for help as the island disappeared under the waters of the ocean.
Appearing in Anchors Aweigh: "Taurus the Bull"
- Red Murphy
- Taurus the Bull (Only appearance; dies)
- his Island Native allies
- Perkins (Only appearance; dies)
- Shipping Company's President
- Pacific Ocean
- Kolui Island
- school of sharks
- large octopus
Synopsis for Anchors Aweigh: "Taurus the Bull"
Kolui, an island paradise in the Pacific, was the headquarters of the Inter-Island Shipping Company, which has appealed to the United States Navy for help, due to reports of piracy involving their boats, which keep vanishing. Don Kerry and Red Murphy are assigned to investigate the disappearances, learning through the other shipping employees about a seaplane that's been seen flying over the island lately. It's their only lead, so for the next two days the pair search the island's inlets, for signs of a seaplane. Red notices a trail of oil starting to form, in the river they are following. It gets thicker and easier to see as they journey further downstream, until the two Navy officers arrive in a jungle clearing, and are met face to face with the infamous criminal known as "Taurus the Bull".
The natives in the area had warned him of their approach, and so he and his men set up an ambush to trap them. Don and Red are tied up by Perkins, a glasses-wearing thug. A seaplane flies over the sailors' heads, likely the same one they were searching for. Perkins explains that Taurus would use the plane to bomb the decks of ships before lowering himself down to steal all the valuables aboard. Then, leaving dynamite on the lower decks, he retreats back aboard the plane as the fiery explosion sinks the ship. Thus the shipping company never can find them. Taurus believes Perkins talks too much for his own good so he ties him up as well. Don, Red, and Perkins are then left on a tiny island only 15 feet in diameter, which will be swallowed up by the tide, leaving them as food for the school of sharks swimming around.
As the water rises, Don gets an idea. Grabbing Perkins's glasses with his mouth, he adjusts them so that the sunlight hits the lens at just the right angle, creating a beam that burns through their ropes. They have to risk swimming to shore with nowhere else to go, luckily for Don and Red the sharks swarm over Perkins, completely ignoring them. Now it was time to stop Taurus the Bull from robbing any more ships. The criminal is seen on a high ledge overlooking the sea. Shots are fired from both sides, but none hit the mark. In an attempt to escape from the Navy gentlemen, Taurus dives into the water and begins swimming away. Suddenly, a tentacle wraps itself around his waist, and then another grabs his leg, and before Don Kerry and Red Murphy's eyes, Taurus' fate is sealed by a hungry octopus that was resting on the sea floor.
Back at the Shipping Company, the President and the Admiral wish to congratulate Don and Red for their fine work with a feast. The president treats the boys to the Kolui Island delicacies... Shark steak and octopus!
- First issue for Bart Tumey on Anchors Aweigh.
- First and last issue for Bulldog Martin, which appears next in More Fun Comics #47 (Sep 1939).
- Federal Men:
- Steve Carson gets head-konked unconscious with a wood block. Previously in this series, he's been electrically shocked unconscious, been kicked unconscious by an unseen assailant, had a burning house fall on him hard enough to inflict amnesia, and now he's got this new blunt instrument head trauma.
- First Adventure Comics issue for The Sandman, which runs continuously until issue #102 (Feb/Mar 1946).
- Going by publication date, this is the second Earth-Two appearance of the Sandman. He appeared earlier in New York World's Fair Comics #1, April 1939. Internal evidence is ambiguous, either story might have been his first.
- The New Earth Sandman makes earlier chronological appearances in the first four-issue story-arc from Sandman Mystery Theatre.
- Either way, at the outset of this story, the mysterious Sandman has a well-established reputation, having already solved scores of cases for the police.
- First appearance of the Tarantula. He appears next in All-Star Squadron Annual #3. This version of the Tarantula is not to be confused with either Roger Goldman, Jonathan Law or Catalina Flores.
- Sandman wears an orange business suit in this story, so he has to do some extra-stealthy sneaking.
- First issue for Socko Strong.
- Socko and his pal Jerry both get head-konked unconscious.
- Also appearing in this issue of Adventure Comics were:
- "The Tarantula Strikes" is reprinted in Justice League of America (Volume 1) #94 and Golden Age Sandman Archives, Volume 1. The original story was never provided with a title, but the Sandman Archives titles the story as "The Tarantula Strikes".
- Bert Christman is credited as "Larry Dean" in this issue.
- While it remains unconfirmed, this issue may in fact be the first comic book representation of noted English playwright, William Shakespeare.
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- Cover gallery for the Adventure Comics series