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PEP #35

Reviews for the various Mighty Crusaders Comics.

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Post Sat Aug 27, 2005 7:08 am
Kelso User avatar
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Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA
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Back in the 1940's, when one went to the movies, one got a variety of cinematic entertainment for the price of admission (which was a quarter around this time). In addition to the feature film, you got a bunch of short subjects including newsreels, cartoons, and other short films. The anthology comic books of that period were on the same level of what a night at a movie theater was. For a dime, you've got a variety of features ranging from action-adventure stories featuring superheroes to cartoony humor oriented stories. And even a war story or two. And Pep Comics #35 (cover dated January, 1943) was one of those comic book equivilents to a night or matinee at your local movie theater. For 10 cents, you get the adventures of two of the top heroes of the Golden Age - the Shield and the Hangman - plus 5 other very strong features, including a strip that was rapidly becoming one of the top humor strips of the day, Archie. So if you could get past that great cover showing the Shield and Dusty along with the Hangman beating the crap out of a bunch of Japanese soldiers (courtesy of Harry Sahle), here's what was on the program:

"The Trail of the Walking Corpse" (THE SHIELD); Our program starts off when a fire at a movie theater leads the Shield and Dusty into a unususal case involving a murderered gangster who seemed to to have walked away from where he was murdered. Featuring cinematography, er.. I mean artwork by Irving Novick.

"The Raven" (THE HANGMAN); Our program continues with a great piece of comics-noir as the Hangman investigates a pair of bizarre murders at a hospital that seemed to have been commited by a giant raven. I loved how they managed to capture the feel of Edgar Allan Poe's classic poem "The Raven" (which is incidently quoted in this story) and mixed it with both the stylistic gothic horror that Val Lewton began to bring to his horror films and the newly-emerging film-noir style. And Bob Fujitani more than managed to capture the noir feel in this story. Also check out the double page spread that opens this story.

"Man Without a Country" (CAPTAIN COMMANDO AND THE BOY SOLDIERS); In a timely wartime piece, Captain Commando helps out an expatrite American who now regrets embracing Nazism and betraying America. Irving Novick once again contributes the artwork on this excellent war tale.

DANNY IN WONDERLAND; In a story that was reminicent of what happened to Lewis Carroll's Alice, Danny and Kuppie find out the hard way about what happens when they ingest the fruit from a "shrinking tree" and get into an adventure because of it. Featuring art by Red Holmdale.

SERGEANT BOYLE; In another one of those tongue-in-cheek war adventures, Sgt. Boyle and Twerp manage to infiltrate a Nazi base in the desert to find out if the rumors about a high fanking Nazi officer were true while trying to wreck a Nazi base at the same time. Carl Hubble delivers on the artwork.

ARCHIE; Our program continues with comics answer to such young fellows as M.G.M.'s Andy Hardy and Paramount's Henry Aldrich as Archie accidently misquote's Mr. Weatherbee in the school newspaper and causes a major panic at Riverdale High. If "the Bee" looks a lot different than he does now, one must remember Mr. Weatherbee didn't aquire his familiar apperance until shortly after this story was published. Here Red Holmdale pinch hits for Bob Montana in this story.

"The Case of Devil's Rock" (BENTLEY OF SCOTLAND YARD); Our program closes with a little mystery as Inspector Bentley investigates a murder that was seemingly commited by the Devil. Paul Reinman delivers on the artwork.

Add a text story featuring the Hangman and a promo ad for Archie #1 and you get an entertainment program that any theater would be glad to play. And best of all, back then it only cost a dime.
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