Board index The Mighty Crusaders Network Comic Book Reviews BLUE RIBBON COMICS #6, 1984


Reviews for the various Mighty Crusaders Comics.

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Post Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:12 pm
Stacy B. User avatar

Posts: 31
Location: Clinton, Mississippi

Imprint – Archie Adventure Series
Vol. 2, No. 6, March 1984
Cover Art – Rich Buckler and Rudy Nebres
Editor – Rich Buckler
Story – Rich Buckler and Stan Timmons
Art – Tony DeZungia
Lettering – Victor Gorelick
Colors – Barry Grossman

The first part of the story, FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE, starts off in Leong Chen’s Kung Fu Institute in Chinatown. A red clad martial arts student is performing before his Sensei after training for 3 years. He moves with great anger and rage, which causes his Sensei to berate him for his aggressiveness.

“Anger only breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Greed! And Greed…only Carnage!”

In retrospect, a Yodaism if I have ever heard one!

But much of this comic is ahead of it’s time.

BLUE RIBBON COMICS #6 is a story featuring the MLJ character , THE FOX!

Thanks to the classic interior art of Tony DeZungia, the whole book has a street level, gritty feel to in. DeZungia embodies THE FOX with a style and grace that sometimes missing from modern comics. This FOX, the son of the original, is Paul Patten, Jr, is a not only a costumer hero like his father, but also a photographer.

As the first chapter of this story unwinds, we are introduced to the angry martial art student, MARTIAL LAW. After leaving his Sensei’s studio, he makes his way across town to seek employment with a crime lord called THE DRAGON’S HEAD. Ironically, his defeat as the villain known as THE GASSER at the hands of THE FOX is what drove MARTIAL LAW to his martial arts training, and to gain entry to THE DRAGON’S HEAD gang, MARTIAL LAW must eliminate THE FOX.

What follows is a four color romp which highlights the overlooked superiority of these mid-80’s comics. We are introduced to Delilah, the girlfriend of Paul Patton, Jr., as she talks with Paul before her drama and dance school has a show. In classic villain style MARTIAL LAW crashes in on the festivities and, grabbing Delilah and announced she was to pass a challenge on to the FOX. In classic “protect your secret identity” style, Patton feigns impotence as he tries to save Delilah. Then, disappearing like Peter Parker on a date, he slips away to meet MARTIAL LAW in combat.

Buckler and Timmons do an admirable job of explaining the little things. How did MARTIAL LAW know to grab Delilah to contact the FOX? Apparently, as the GASSER, he had kidnapped her when she wore an expensive gown, and was foiled by THE FOX. This most likely refers to the 1967 Mighty Comics #49 story, “The Gasser Attacks”, which seems to have been retroactively made the first appearance of this new FOX.

After the re-introductions are made, we witness three pages of martial arts action in the 80’s style. MARTIAL LAW seems to forsake the nun-chukka from the beginning of the story in favor of the three section staff, and THE FOX shows that he is no slouch in the chop-sockey department.

The second part of the story, entitled DRAGON-HEAD, SERPENT’S TAIL, continues to follow the FOX as THE DRAGON’S HEAD recruits a more deadly player to his gang. The ERASER, after losing his memory, is found in a bar. A mysterious man “shows” him his real identity, and we next see him in full costume in the lair of THE DRAGON’S HEAD. MARTIAL LAW and the ERASER are ordered to go after the FOX, and in a turn of events you know will lead to a continuation next issue, capture him.

If I make seem to fly through the story, it is only because I want to take time to point out the great things about this comic.

On the CRUSADER COMMENTS letter page, Buckler writes to the reader, “The stories are not to be taken too seriously…” “My intention was to be entertaining and I hope you have as much fun reading them as Stan and I had writing them. You won’t be able to intellectualize their content.”

With snappy dialogue that fills the page and beautiful art by DeZungia, this comic truly makes you feel that you got your moneys worth. It contains a revenge driven plot, a troubled love life, fast action, sinister villains and, thrown in for good measure, is some subtle humor. Add to this a great black and white house ad on the interior front cover for MIGHTY CRUSADERS #6 and some nice letter page artwork, and you have a bang up comic that just plain works.

On a side note, this comic contains a two panels, which, if where paid more attention to by the comics code, may have been cause for it to not receive the CCA stamp of approval. Page 22, panel 8, shows a character opening a door to a room which contains three women smoking. The positions their hands are drawn and the "atmosphere" of the story lead me to belive they could have been smoking either reefer or the character had just peeked into an opium den.

In conclusion, todays comics, with their pages full of pin-up size art work and sparse dialouge, could learn a lot from a solid example of well done sequential art like this. A great story from a series whos run died to soon at 14 issues.

Post Wed Sep 05, 2007 4:59 am
leonmallett User avatar

Posts: 523
Location: West Midlands, UK
I have to agree with Stacy about the solid story-telling in this story. Looking at the Red Circle Blue Ribbon title as a whole, some issues certainly offered more than others. For me this was one of the stronger ones as it wasn't reprint material and didn't feature non-Mighty Crusaders/MLJ characters, as later issues with Agents of Atlantis and THUNDER Agents, and Thunder Bunny did (although of course the latter story still featured the Crusaders).

The art is excellent, and Dezuniga and Buckler crafted some great looking pages in their respective involvement in various Red Circle titles (well Red Circle and Archie Adventure Series). I thought the transformation of a villain from one guise/alter ego to another was an interesting one, and an idea that has still remained underused in comics except as a means of story-telling sleight of hand. And this is a story more than 20 years old. In this case it felt right and appropriate and a sign of characterisation rather than plot device.

The major difficulty for me is reconciling the Red Circle Toth tales of the 40's Fox with the modern (well 80's) era Fox, which in the books I have read so far seems clouded in editorial confusion if nothing else. Normally not a problem except when creators are/were trying to establish a sense of continuity, which was the case in this line of books. This may be resolved for me when I have read and re-read all of the Red Circle books.

My only other quibble is the lack of the yellow Fox emblem which I like. Yes it makes a fine target I am sure, but to my eye it looked cool. I was glad to see it back in AWM. Ironically Red Circle dropped the emblem before DC dropped the yellow oval from Batman's emblem....

Anyway, one of the best of the Red Circle Blue Ribbon books in my view.

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