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TOP-NOTCH #3

Reviews for the various Mighty Crusaders Comics.

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Post Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:21 am
Kelso User avatar
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Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA
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When Top-Notch Comics #3 (cover dated February, 1940) his the stands in December of 1939, it was very much a title in transition. This issue was the beginning of a seven issue tweaking process (ending with issue #9) that was done by MLJ in an attempt to find the right combination of features that would allow Top-Notch to live up to its first issue blurb of being "the world's greatest comic magazine" (this was long before Marvel put a similar blurb on The Fantastic Four). And things would only get better as each issue progressed. But we're getting ahead of ourselves, so let's just look a t the contents of this transition issue:

THE WIZARD; The book gets off to a great start as the Wizard goes up against the Borentals as he tries to prevent them from blowing up the Panama Canal. Watch for a sequence involving the Wizard breaking out of jail after being put there for more than a few traffic offences. Ed Ashe did a good job on the artwork.

DICK STORM; Mort Meskin managed to capture that Terry and the Pirates feel in this story as Dick Storm tries to convince a Chinese warlord to ally with the government to repel the Japanese invaders of China.

BOB PHANTOM; for his first Top-Notch appearance (after a two issue stint in Blue Ribbon), the spectral sleuth goes after a gang of kidnappers who have kidnapped the son of an oil tycoon. Irv Novick delivers on the artwork. Bob Phantom would make his last appearance in Top-Notch Comics #25 (March, 1942) and wouldn't pop up again until the now-infamous fourth issue of The Mighty Crusaders (first series).

STACY KNIGHT, M.D.; In this tale, Dr. Knight ends up being kidnapped by gansters to help save an injured mob boss, only to find himself in a gun battle against them. Lin Streeter did a good job on the art.

WINGS JOHNSON OF THE AIR PATROL; Here Wings gets out of his hospital bed to once again pursue his old enemy Von Schiller only to be caught by the Nazis. Ed Smalle did a good job on the art but really excelled in drawing the aircraft and the spectacular flying sequences.

SWIFT OF THE SECRET SERVICE; A fast paced little thriller as Rex Swift tracks down a gem smuggler.

SCOTT RAND; For his final appearance, Rand and Thor travel to Mars to rescue Pricess Elde and Dr Meade from the villianous Kruzzo. This wouldn't be the last we would hear from either artist Jack Binder and/or writer Eando Binder (aka Earl and Otto Binder). Otto Binder would go on to be one of the most prolific writers in comics. While the art of Jack Binder would grace such strips as Mary Marvel and Mr. Scarlet among others.

THE WEST POINTER; A slice of college life from Ed Wexler as cadet Keith Kornell tries to keep the star football player from injuring himself before the big game against the Naval Academy.

MANHUNTERS; Here Jack Cole tells the story of a cowardly crook who would let his own men be captured or killed just to save his hide. This story could have easily appeared in DC's later Gang Busters title or on the radio series of that name.

Looking at this issue of Top-Notch, for a title in transition it was doing quite well. And things would only get better (!).
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