Wonder Comics #2
Bruns Publication (Fox Features; June, 1939, posted to Comic Book Plus)
From what I can tell, Bruns Publication was one of the many sub-publishers owned by Fox Features Publications. I’m not sure of that but I know they’re connected somehow. time for another batch of stories. Again, quick reviews with the credits near the titles.
I want to call this the final issue but they may have just rebranded as Wonderworld Comics. It’s one of those weird things they did in the early days of comic books. Also of note is that Comic Book Plus’ scans came from a fiche and not scans of the comic itself. The first story is reprinted in Blue Beetle #1, which was a better quality scan, so I was able to read a few panels unreadable in the fiche scan.
Yarko The Great: “The Old Hex House”
WRITER/ARTIST: Lou Fine
Yarko is the obligatory occult hero of this comic, an American who learned the mystic secrets of the East. He needs those skills when his friend Carole’s father is taken over by Yarko’s rival Shabbidah. Not a very exciting story, frankly.
Minnie The Mermaid: “Princess Kidnapped” and Don Quixote: “In New York”
No credits listed on these two, and I wouldn’t want to admit to making either. Minnie is the princess, but it turns out she wasn’t kidnapped. She wanted first prize for snagging a Scotsman, but could only find the Loch Ness Monster. Meanwhile her dad is trying to “rescue” her without bankrupting the kingdom and the mom’s the bossy time. It’s short but it makes up for it by not being funny.
Meanwhile Don Quixote and his squire Sancho literally come out of a book and show up in New York. How? Why? Who knows? Apparently not the writer. They get into trouble with a policeman but then end up accidentally helping stop a criminal at large. It’s…two pages.
WRITER/ARTIST: S.M. Iger (as Jerry Williams)
Apparently this is a serialized story, though I don’t know if it survived the rename. Shorty tries getting away by riding the outside of a limo, not realizing it’s Mr. De Welth and Suzie looking for him (and now knowing he’s there). Tiny captures De Welth (who is still a kleptomaniac) but doesn’t know it’s the rich guy they had planned to rob, working on “this guy” instead on the orders of his boss, the Chief. It’s still not very funny but the story itself is getting better.
Patty O’Day: “The Panama Assignment”
WRITER/ARTIST: Adolphe Barreaux
This girl loves taking film of boats she shouldn’t. This time she’s at the Panama Canal, but at least this time as long as the military makes sure she isn’t filming a boat they’re trying to keep secret for the moment she’s fine. Except a spy wants to get at her uncensored footage and she refuses. These guys have a nasty habit of showing up just as Patty and Ham are getting rescued and knocking people out but otherwise it’s a good story.
Dr. Fung: “The Pearl Diver Murders”
WRITER/ARTIST: Arthur Dean
I wonder where Comic Book Plus is getting these titles because I’m not seeing any. Fung and Dan are hired to find out who is murdering pearl divers and stealing the pearls. There are some questionable acts of science, like getting the octopus to kill people, but I’m pretty sure leaves don’t emit oxygen after being removed from the tree, so coating them to give out more oxygen is like multiplying by zero. Still, it’s better than the previous story and Fung’s part of the investigation (how did Dan know he was captured when he was undercover at the time?) actually matters to the story.
Tex Maxon: “The Iron Horse Goes Through”
WRITER/ARTIST: Munson Paddock (as Cecelia Munson, though Comic Book Plus questions whether or not the actual writer was Wil Eisner)
We actually have a title in the comic. Tex is working for a railroad company bringing a new train into his area, but a local baddie is trying to force the trail to relocate through property he owns by keeping the owner of the land the railroad wants to use captive. I don’t know what’s harder to take: Tex’s exaggerated accent (“wal, haus” instead of “well, horse” for example) or how dumb most of the criminals, including the boss, are. Either way it damages what could have been a good story.
K-51: “The Dancing Spy”
WRITER/ARTIST: Wil Eisner (under a pseudonym for the art credits according to Comic Book Plus)
K-51’s friend introduces him to his girlfriend, but the Secret Service agent is suspicious when she lets some info slip she shouldn’t know. It turns out she’s actually a fellow agent and his friend is the traitor. Makes you wonder about K-51’s friends. At least the last one had a conscience. Not a bad story.
Gangbuster Robinson: “The Protection Racketeers”
WRITER/ARTIST: Harold Vance
Our way too active prosecutor (as in he’s not supposed to be doing the work of the city detectives) learns the mob is running a protection racket and seeks to break it up. Outside of the idea of the city attorney going out there to bust crime himself it’s actually a decent action story for the time.
“Spark” Stevens: “The Panama Plot”
WRITER/ARTIST: Bob Kane
Taking up the rear again is our favorite Navy radio man and his bickering buddy Chuck. The ship receives word of a plan to start a war between Latin America and the US by framing both sides for their attacks so an unnamed foreign government can take over. (I guess that saves hard feelings.) Naturally the captain sends their radio operators under cover to break up the operation. That silliness aside it’s a decent action story as well.
Overall this was an improvement over the previous issue. The comic will be retitled Wonderworld Comics for some reason and I’ll be following it to see if the serialized story gets an ending. The rest are one-shot stories and I’m considering a new approach to reviewing the Golden Age comics. More on that when I get the opening.
[…] Old Hex House (from Wonder Comics #2): Yarko is the obligatory occult hero of this comic, an American who learned the mystic secrets […]