Wonderworld Comics #6
Fox Features Publications (October, 1939; courtesy Comic Book Plus)
I think I’ve decided how to go through these comics. This is not the only anthology comic and there’s no continuity in the Golden Age. So I’m going to do the anthology comics first, since some of the stories in the solo titles, and the Flame from this comic does have a solo series (no love for Wonder Man), are just reprints from the anthology before having solo-original stories. So I’ll do all the anthologies, then go back for the solo offerings.
Also of note is that the scans at Comic Book Plus are missing a few stories, so I can only review the stories actually in this issue. This also includes the text stories I don’t usually review but the full story is missing for the tales absent while no pages appear to be missing from the ones that are here. I’m guessing the only copy they could find so many decades out was minus a few tales. So here’s the ones I can talk about. Link is in the opening above.
The Flame: “The Arson Ring Of Mr. Crass” |WRITER: Basil Berold, though CB+ thinks it’s Wil Eisner under a pen name| ARTIST: Lou Fine
Before I start the review, I love the signs in the news office. I linked to the comic so check them out. Reporter Bonnie Lane, because of course we need a pretty girl to swoon over our hero, is sent to report on a series of arsons. The Flame, actually working with the police this story, tells the DA where to find the evidence they need to bust JB Crass, who works with building owners to burn old buildings for the insurance money. I think I get his powers now: bulletproof and travels through flames…somehow. Even the DA’s lit pipe is a gateway. Be glad he’s one of the good guys, folks, or he might show up at your BBQ. Even the reader doesn’t know who he is, or how his car appears out of nowhere in this story since we see him travel by fire or leaping in this story, but I enjoyed it. Curious we get a backstory on this guy ever, even when he gets his own title.
Yarko: “The Blood Flower” |WRITER: Wil Eisner |ARTIST: Bob Powell, though CB+ is questioning both those credits
Yarko aids an explorer named Li Wan in finding a flower that bleeds human blood. Why and how will never be explained but it’s the sacred flower of a tribe of female vampires living in the Himalayas. Look, if you wanted a story to make sense, having Yarko save the day by winning a staring contest with a vampire queen was not the one to go with. The Golden Age was a silly place.
Dr. Fung: “The Death Of Khan Gen-Kee” |WRITER/ARTIST: Bob Powell, or CB+ says Arthur Dean with a pen name
This is a rather sad outing for Fung and Dan, who gets to wear yellowface, which given the context of going undercover with an actual Chinese man I’m sure will never be a problem to anyone. Our heroes are trying to find a bandit who killed a rich American, which will also go over big with modern readers. However, Gen-Kee may be a bandit and killer but he’s a loving father, which gets him caught after his youngest daughter is killed in the attempt to capture him and his elder daughter swears revenge on Fung and Dan. Hooray for snagging the killer but it’s sad the little girl died when she did nothing wrong. Will the elder daughter, Lio San, be a recurring villain? Time will tell.
K-51 Spies At War: The Sinking Of The S-1″ |WRITER: Willis B. Rensie, or is it Wil Eisner, or neither of them |ARTIST: Bob Powell…or is it? (Seriously, sometimes I think these credits are the work of spies)
It’s not helping that either Comic Book Plus is missing whole stories (I’ll know when I get to the end) or has these stories in a different order than in the listing at the bottom of the reader’s page. In this story K-51 investigates the latest in a series of sub sinkings, and ends up fighting a traitor among the rescue party. Interesting that in this one K-51 has to be saved by the rescue party, who end up snagging the traitor. So thanks for doing nothing, K-51, but get your tail whipped by a traitor and a squid. Was the squid a spy, too? Anyway, his fiancé Claire shows up to take him to Honolulu for their next assignment. Maybe they can find the missing Patty O’Day story while they’re there.
Mob Buster Robinson: “The Kidnapping Of Mary Sloan” |WRITER: Larry Vance or not |ARTIST: George Tuska–Hey, they committed to one!
Detail is important. A man whose daughter was kidnapped is told not to call the police, so she sends a letter to the DA. Even the captions refer to him as “Capitol City’s fighting district attorney”. Attempting to find Mary Sloan after finding her father dead, Robinson of course gets captured himself, but since these crooks have a trap door leading to a boat in their cell, is fully aware of it, and just waits by the tunnel in case he finds it, Robinson got the “C” list crook on this one. This hurts what could have been an interesting story, though Robinson does one-up The Flame by actually getting to kiss the girl.
Spark Stevens: “The Poaching Junks” |WRITER/ARTIST: Klaus Nordling
Spark and Chuck continue to let their pursuits of pretty girls get them in trouble, this time getting captured because the girl is part of a Chinese crime ring. And yet they still rescue her when the manage to get the boat into the crosshairs of the coast guard, only to get pickpocketed, blame each other, and get locked up for fighting. She even gives them the money back, probably out of pity. The US Navy’s finest, ladies and gentlemen.
I tried going to the Digital Comic Museum, the only other Golden Age archive site I have a link for or know about and they’re missing the same stories.
Shorty Shortcake: The Guatemala Gold Mine Caper |WRITER/ARTIST: Jerry Williams, or S.M. Iger according to CB+
Patty O’Day: “The Hawaiian Volcano Erupts” |WRITER/ARTIST: Claire Moe
Tex Mason: “Indian Drums Throb Along Bar-9” |WRITER/ARTIST: Cecelia Munson, or Munson Paddock, and CB+ won’t commit to either
So I have no idea what happened in these stories. Since the Patty O’Day story, if I understand the info, introduces a recurring villain here and Shorty Shortcake is the solo ongoing story, along with being the two of the three I like (it’s also missing the text stories, which is too bad if you like them, and the Don Quixote story, so not a total loss) I actually like. Tex Mason’s stories are fine but not my interest. Still, it’s a shame if they were lost to time. Watch the usual Sunday updates and if I ever find these three I’ll update their reviews.