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Feature Comics Vol 1 32

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"Doll Man: "The Sins of Anton Bock"": With the aid of a strange tablet, Darrel Dane can reduce himself to the size of a doll. His boss, Professor Roberts, is working late at his laboratory; around midnight he perfects an extremely deadly poison gas; he immediately decides to destroy his samples


Quote1 The most powerful gas in the world ... too powerful ... if I sell it, it'll be used to kill men ... Bah! I'm going to destroy it for there are too many instruments of death now in this world. Quote2
-- Professor Roberts



Appearing in Doll Man: "The Sins of Anton Bock"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Villains:

  • Anton Bock
  • his spy gang

Other Characters:

  • an old sea captain
  • Deep Haven Sheriff

Locations:

  • New York City
  • Deep Haven, about 100 miles from NYC
  • Lorelei Isle, off the Atlantic Coast, at Deep Haven

Items:

Synopsis for Doll Man: "The Sins of Anton Bock"

With the aid of a strange tablet, Darrel Dane can reduce himself to the size of a doll. His boss, Professor Roberts, is working late at his laboratory; around midnight he perfects an extremely deadly poison gas; he immediately decides to destroy his samples and notes. Too late, a spy is already in the room, knocks out the chemist, and abducts him. Martha finds the Professor gone, calls Darrel Dane, then faints. Darrel revives her and she accompanies him on his search. Based on her description of the three thugs and their car, plus questioning every gas-station attendant in a 10-mile radius, Dane assembles some ambiguous clues into the deduction that the kidnappers came to NYC from the shabby oceanside town of Deep Haven (about 100 miles from NYC), and have returned there with Prof. Roberts.

They drive to Deep Haven, where they question a bunch of people including a wizened old sea captain, who tells them about strange colored lights seen on the nearby island called "Lorelei," which he believes to be haunted. Darrel gets small and swims to the island to investigate; along the way he kills a shark with a bamboo stick, then arrives at the tall, narrow, steep, stark rock of an island; at the peak of this storm-swept precipice stands a weather-beaten shack, with flickering lights in the windows. Inside, Professor Roberts is being tortured by Anton Bock, international spy. Doll Man sneaks into the locked shack and sets Roberts free, and has a great deal of fun thrashing the spies; at one point he ties their shoelaces together. Roberts shoots one of the spies; another spy is killed when Doll Man accidentally knocks over the poison gas sample, flooding the room with deadly vapors. Roberts gets safely out of the shack with the Doll Man in his pocket, and revives him; Doll Man returns to the fight and leaves Anton Bock and the other surviving thug, unconscious, for the local sheriff.

Appearing in Captain Fortune: "The Capture of Castle Balomar"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Will Kentshire, Fortune's aide
    • Fortune's crew

Villains:

  • Duke Edward
    • his varlets

Other Characters:

  • Lord Essex
    • his knights
  • Lady Essex, his daughter

Locations:

  • Castle Balomar, Essex's home
  • Crown Tavern

Synopsis for Captain Fortune: "The Capture of Castle Balomar"

Continued from last issue.

By night, Captain Fortune infiltrates Castle Balomar by swimming the cold, dark moat and scaling a sheer rock wall. He drops a rope, and several of his crewmen join him atop the castle wall. They wait until dawn, skewer some sentries, then attempt to raise the portcullis and lower the drawbridge, but a watchman spots them, and yells for more soldiers. Fortune engages the soldiers while the crewmen get the gate open, then Lord Essex leads a cavalry charge into the castle's courtyard, and starts cutting down the ill-gotten castle's defenders. Observing this from a safe distance, Duke Edward slips out thru a concealed door, mounts a waiting horse, and escapes. By luck he encounters young Lady Essex, out riding alone, and kidnaps her. Captain Fortune hears about it and pursues them on horseback. With two riders, Edward's horse is overloaded, and is quickly overtaken. It takes half an hour of hard swordfighting, but Fortune gets past Edward's guard, and drops him off a cliff.

Appearing in "Big Top"

Characters:

  • Butch
  • Boss
  • Butch's dog

Synopsis for "Big Top"

(newspaper strip reprints)

Appearing in Zero, Ghost Detective: "The Three-Fingered Ogre"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Mr. Bleaker
  • Mary Bleaker
  • John Bleaker

Villains:

  • Peter Bleaker, supernatural ogre

Locations:

  • Zero's office, in a skyscraper
  • Bleaker's country home

Items:

  • cross-marked mirror

Vehicles:

  • chartered airplane

Synopsis for Zero, Ghost Detective: "The Three-Fingered Ogre"

On the 77th floor of a towering skyscraper, Zero wages war against the criminal denizens of the phantom realm. Okay but he's (also?) got an office and a secretary on the 13th floor, and that's where Mr. Bleaker shows up to hire the Ghost Detective; Bleaker believes, correctly, that his months-dead brother Peter has murdered his recently-dead brother John. You see, as children, devoted siblings John, Peter, and ("Mr.") Bleaker had sworn an oath, in blood, that when one of them died, he would come back for the others in the form of a three-fingered ogre, from their favorite story book. A few months ago, Peter had died, in abject poverty and far from home; two months later John was found dead, strangled by a three-fingered hand.

Zero takes the case; they go to Bleaker's beautiful country home, where in the library they encounter a large, grey, three-fingered ogre who calls Bleaker "Brother." Zero flashes a cross-marked mirror and the hideous apparition vanishes, but the monster reappears elsewhere in the house, carrying Bleaker's daughter Mary, then it vanishes again. Zero quickly brings Mr. Bleaker outside to his car and drives to the airport, then hires a plane and pilot to fly, at night, to the cemetery where Peter Bleeker is buried, and land nearby. They enter the cemetery, where a ghostly apparition warns them to leave "before the angry brother returns," or they will die. Zero ignores this, finds a spade, and starts digging at Peter's grave. The ogre appears, with Mary screaming in its arms, and Zero exposits: "If he reaches me before I open this coffin, we're all goners." He then very rapidly digs out the coffin, opens it, and drives a stake through Peter Bleaker's corpse's chest, which makes the ogre vanish.

Appearing in Reynolds of the Mounted: "The Medicine Man's Scheme"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Villains:

  • Wade
  • his henchman
  • Sakru, medicine man

Other Characters:

  • Sam Barton, fur trader
  • his partner (Dies)
  • Tom Barton, fur trader
  • Chief Kayuh
  • several braves

Locations:

  • Sgt. Reynolds' cabin
  • trading post
  • Bartons' cabin
  • Indian village

Synopsis for Reynolds of the Mounted: "The Medicine Man's Scheme"

In a howling north woods blizzard, Sgt. Jim Reynolds rescues an injured fur trader, Sam Barton, hears his story, and teams up with Sam and his brother Tom, against an unscrupulous competing fur trader, Wade. Wade has already murdered Sam's other partner, and has been (behind the scenes) making an illicit deal with a friendly Indian tribe's medicine man, Sakru, to overthrow the tribe's chief, Kayuh. When Jim and Sam and Tom arrive at the trading village, they find that Wade and his henchman have arrived earlier, and have poisoned the tribe's minds against their old trading partners. The Indians capture Sam and Tom, while Jim hides, and the braves leave, without searching the cabin, planning to execute their captives at sunrise. Jim searches the cabin, and finds a supply of fireworks, which he then rigs up in the woods outside the Indian village. Then at the right dramatic moment he sets them all off. Amid all the noise and stampeding-about that results, Reynolds walks into the village and shoots Sakru, wounding him only slightly, but embarrassing him greatly. Jim frees the Barton brothers, then the three of them pursue Wade and his partner, and catch them. Leaving Sam and Tom to patch up their deal with Chief Kayuh, and to disprove some false accusations against them with Kayuh's braves, Sgt. Reynolds hauls the two outlaws away.

Appearing in Spin Shaw: "The Snatch of the Plane Plans"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Shaw's commandant

Villains:

  • G. Roland Lorber
  • Arndt (Behind the scenes)
  • Inez
  • Inez's boss
  • Joe, hench chauffeur
  • "Fingers", hench mechanic
  • at least four more hench thugs

Other Characters:

  • Navy Secretary
  • seven enlisted sailors

Locations:

  • airfield
  • city

Items:

  • blueprints for experimental aircraft

Vehicles:

  • tandem-motored fighting plane, two prototypes
  • Navy biplane

Synopsis for Spin Shaw: "The Snatch of the Plane Plans"

At the airfield, Capt. Shaw test-pilots an experimental warplane. Later, in the city, a gang of spies tries a complicated ruse, involving a fake accident, to steal the airplane plans from the Navy Secretary, but Spin Shaw is on hand when they do, so they fail, but escape.

The next day one spy, posing as a mechanic, plants a bomb in the experimental plane, set to detonate during that day's round of aerial testing, with Shaw again at the controls. During a steep power dive, the bomb goes off, damaging the plane and failing to kill the pilot, who then parachutes to safety.

Several days later at the airport cafeteria, Spin Shaw recognizes the accident "victim" from the earlier robbery attempt, and follows her to a swank hotel, in which he finds two more spies, and eavesdrops on them thru the open transom window of their hotel room.

Near the base, Capt. Shaw informally recruits a gang of enlisted sailors to take part in a little scrap with no penalties attached. They proceed to the airfield, and Shaw arrests the saboteur-mechanic, plus finds a second bomb, rigged the same way as the first, in the remaining prototype plane. He then telephones the spy gang's hotel room, and tricks them into rushing out to the airfield. G. Roland Lorber, probable spy boss, shows up and tries to bluster his way past Shaw, who arrests him. Shaw's gang ambushes the spy gang and beats them up. Lorber steals a biplane and tries to flee, but Shaw pursues him in the experimental plane, performs a difficult and dangerous aerial stunt which crashes both planes. With a broken arm, Shaw extracts the unconscious Lorber from the burning wreckage, and drags him to safety.

The next day Capt. Shaw gets a commendation from his boss.

Appearing in "Lala Palooza"

Featured Characters:

  • Lala Palooza

Supporting Characters:

  • Vincent Palooza

Synopsis for "Lala Palooza"

(newspaper strip reprints)

Appearing in Rance Keane: "The Murder of Bus Pritchard"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Pee Wee

Villains:

  • a murderer

Other Characters:

  • Bus Pritchard (Dies)
  • Lola Pritchard (Mentioned only)
  • Sheriff

Locations:

  • Pritchard's ranch house
  • Longhorn City
    • Bud Miller's "Pinto Oasis"

Synopsis for Rance Keane: "The Murder of Bus Pritchard"

Rance Keane and Pee Wee spend several days visiting Rance's dad's old friend Bus Pritchard, who has just sold most of his ranch, gotten paid for it, and hidden the money somewhere in his house. One day when Rance and Pee Wee are away from the ranch, somebody shoots Bus in the back, ransacks his money stash, and escapes. Rance and Pee Wee arrive too late; Bus rallies up enough for some last words, with which he urges Rance to find the stolen money and send it to his daughter in New York City, which Rance agrees to do, right before the old guy dies.

Rance forms a plan based on a billboard that they saw in town, advertising a big show, that night. Every man in the area is likely to show up for this entertainment, and Rance has a plan for finding the murderer among them: first he'll fill an empty whiskey bottle with cherry soda pop, then they spend the rest of that day making a few other preparations.

That night Rance and Pee Wee show up fake-drunk at the local saloon, and start crashing into all the patrons, and mussing up their hair. Pee Wee finds some hair with soot in it, points the guy out to Keane, who punches him out and turns him over to the sheriff. The soot was from the chimney in Pritchard's house, where the money had been hidden, plus he's carrying a package of money, which Rance grabs. The sheriff takes the unnamed murderer away, and now Rance and Pee Wee are obliged to undertake a journey to New York City, and find Pritchard's daughter Lola.

Appearing in Capt. Bruce Blackburn, Counterspy: "Living Dead Men!"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Lieutenant Jackson, Blackburn's double (First appearance)
  • Colonel Jordan, Blackburn's boss (First appearance)
  • Seargeant Gurk (First appearance)

Villains:

  • Schwartz, enemy agent
  • Smits, draftsman

Other Characters:

  • Dr. Bland

Locations:

  • Washington, D.C.
    • innocent-looking antique shop
    • Intelligence's "H Street House"
    • Entente Inn

Items:

  • two identical derbies

Synopsis for Capt. Bruce Blackburn, Counterspy: "Living Dead Men!"

Blackburn's and Jackson's identities have been compromised, so they fake their own deaths, using two medical school cadavers and a car, which they set on fire and push over a cliff. Then they undergo plastic surgery, to take on new faces, which are still identical.

Two weeks later, recovered from surgery, their first task is to catch the man who created the problem, by leaking a photo of Blackburn to a newspaper. Col. Jordan suspects Schwartz, who is known to be back in town, so with Sgt. Gurk's help, Capt. Blackburn breaks into Schwartz's apartment via a dumbwaiter. He finds a stack of cipher messages in a secret drawer, takes them, and departs undetected. Back at base, Blackburn spends the rest of the night trying to decode the messages, but towards dawn he cracks the code! Blackburn's agency taps Schwartz's phone, reads his mail, and follows him around, but for three days in a row the suspect doesn't call, meet, or speak with any other person. Surveillance is extended to shadowing every War Department drafting room employee.

Next day, Blackburn personally follows Schwartz to his habitual lunch stop, the Entente Inn. Later research also reveals a War Dept. draftsman Smits also habits the same restaurant at the same time each day. So the next day Blackburn surveys the Inn again, and this time he catches on to the gag: Smits and Schwartz each leave with the other's hat, and are passing information and money in the hats. Blackburn tells Colonel Jordan about this, and Smits (but not Schwartz) is soon arrested and confesses.

Appearing in Rusty Ryan: "The Insurance Murder Plot"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Cappy Jenks, Director of Boyville

Villains:

  • Mr. Lockhart
  • his partner

Other Characters:

  • Bobby Thomas
  • Mr. Hicks, newspaper publisher

Locations:

  • Boyville
  • bridge on road to Boyville
  • nearby town

Synopsis for Rusty Ryan: "The Insurance Murder Plot"

Mr. Lockhart is selling insurance policies to underage orphans, and sells one to Rusty's pal little Bobby, from Boyville. As soon as he's recorded as the beneficiary on the policy, Lockhart tricks Bobby into crossing a bridge, on foot, and the bridge has been rigged to collapse, dumping Bobby into the river! Smiley and Rusty see the "accident," and Rusty dives in to rescue Bobby. When they see Bobby's new insurance policy, they get suspicious and seek some advice from Cappy Jenks, then return to the bridge site, where they examine and photograph the sabotaged, sawed-thru, wooden support beams. Then they enlist the local newspaper publisher to help out by printing one fake copy of that day's paper, with a planted story about how Bobby's been murdered and the sheriff is closing in on the killer. The editor goes along with this. Then Rusty and Smiley, with Smiley's camera, go to Lockhart's hotel, and lure him out of his room by posing as newsboys, yelling about this incriminating story. Lockhart and his accomplice run out and buy a paper, and while they are reading it, Rusty sneaks into their room and finds a saw! The scammers corner Rusty while Smiley runs for help, and luckily Cappy Jenks has quietly followed the boys to this hotel. Lockhart, chasing Smiley, is tripped up by Cappy's walking cane, and tumbles down a flight of stairs, then Cappy punches out the accomplice, ties them both up, and calls in the sheriff. Rusty goes back to the newspaper office to tell the editor the story that he'd promised him earlier, only to find that the editor has already written up and printed the story, under the headline "Rusty Ryan breaks up murder insurance plot".

Appearing in The Voice: "Origin of the Voice"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Fogarty (not named until Feature Comics #34)

Villains:

  • John Martinson

Locations:

Items:

  • Elixir's super-vitamin synthesizing formula

Synopsis for The Voice: "Origin of the Voice"

The Voice is Mr. Elixir, who as a boy, in 1790, was stranded on a tropical island, and lived there for 150 years, due to his diet of special herbs. Upon returning to America, Mr. Elixir takes a room in a boarding house in New York City, struggles with his rent, and works night and day to replicate the vitalizing properties of his tropical diet, until one day he discovers a fluid which, when poured over ordinary leaves or plants, causes them to shrink and turn brown, and to synthesize the unknown super-vitamin which accounted for his longevity, plus makes him strong enough to lift a piano. He resolves to secretly fight organized crime, and studies the arts of hypnotism, ventriloquism, and sleight of hand, plus recruits a fellow boardinghouse tenant (Fogarty) to his campaign. He develops a mysterious persona he calls "the Voice." On his first case, Mr. Elixir takes down John Martinson, a jewelry collector who has been buying expensive gems for cash, then having his mugs rob the sellers.

Appearing in Poison Ivy: "Origin of Poison Ivy"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • the stork
  • Ivy's parents

Villains:

  • Joe Ghoul

Other Characters:

  • squad of cops

Synopsis for Poison Ivy: "Origin of Poison Ivy"

Poison Ivy is delivered to his new home by the stork, and is dissatisfied with his Pop's income, so he stomps out to make his own way in the world. Joe Ghoul attempts to kidnap the little tyke, but Poison Ivy has super strength, and beats up Joe Ghoul, then kidnaps him, and holds him for ransom, which the police eventually end up paying, due to Ivy's determination, bargaining skills, and brute strength.

Appearing in Samar: "Origin of Samar"

Featured Characters:

  • Samar (First appearance)

Villains:

  • Tino, an evil trader (Dies)

Other Characters:

  • Mali, chief's daughter

Locations:

  • Africa
    • jungle
      • Lodogo, a lake village

Items:

  • Mali's father's "blood ruby"

Animals:

  • lion
  • stampeding elephant herd

Synopsis for Samar: "Origin of Samar"

An elephant stampede flattens a lakeside village, but Samar is able to arrive there with a warning ahead of time, and while it's going on he is able to rescue some people, including pretty Mali. Right after the stampede, Tino and his crew of cut-throats raid the village, and steal a valuable gem. Samar fights his way thru a squad of spearmen, swims after Tino, drags him out of his boat, drowns him, and recovers the "blood ruby". He cautions young Mali that she should get that thing someplace out of the jungle, for safety.

Appearing in "Mickey Finn"

Featured Characters:

  • Mickey Finn

Characters:

  • Uncle Phil
  • Clancy
  • Jeremiah Houlihan
  • Mrs Houlihan
  • Mulligan
  • Murphy
  • Danny Murphy
  • Ma

Synopsis for "Mickey Finn"

(newspaper strip reprints)

Notes

  • Doll Man
  • In the 8th panel of the 3rd page, we see Darrel Dane take his strange pill and shrink. This is the last time we see him take this pill, on-panel, for many months, and possibly for the remainder of the series. At some point early in his career, after the drinkable version and the injectable version and the pill version of his formula were developed, Dane gained the ability to change size by a simple effort of will. This issue might mark the end of the "pill" phase of his scientific work.
  • In the 12th panel of the 9th page, the dialogue makes it quite clear that both Professor Roberts and Martha know Darrel's dual identities.
  • Samar was featured in Feature Comics from this issue until #63 (Dec 1942).
  • Samar is white, and lives in a jungle in Africa with his adopted tribe, who also are white. So are the people in the lake village of Lodogo. Of all people in this story, only Tino and his henchmen are dark-skinned.
  • Spin Shaw was featured in Feature Comics from this issue until #100 (July 1946).
  • The "tandem-motored fighting plane" is depicted as a normal 1940-era pursuit plane.
  • The Voice was featured in Feature Comics from this issue until #37 (Nov 1940).

Trivia

  • No trivia.



See Also


Recommended Reading

  • None.


Links and References

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