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Top-Notch #13

Reviews for the various Mighty Crusaders Comics.

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Post Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:01 am
Kelso User avatar
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Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA
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Ever since MLJ christend their second anthology title Top-Notch Comics, they made a serious effort to see that the contents of each issue of Top-Notch lived up to the dictionary definition of the term "top-notch" (which incidently means "of the highest quality"). So by the time Top-Notch #13 (cover dated March, 1941) hit the stands in January of 1941, MLJ mad more than a year of experiance in consitantly keeping up the quality of the title's contents. So after getting past a cool cover by Al Camy, we will get an example of how MLJ was able to keep up the quality of Top-Notch:

THE BLACK HOOD; The book gets off to a great start as the Skull shows how plans to murder his next victim via a diorama in the local wax museum, and then actually commits that murder as shown. And only the Black Hood stands between the Skull and his victims. The writer and artist team of Harry Shorten and Al Camy kick off this issue in grand style.

THE WIZARD; Once again the team of Shorten and Camy deliver the goods on another tale, this one featuring Top-Notch's original lead feature; The Wizard. Here the Wizard and Roy teach a lesson to a gang of juvenile delinquents about the follow of hero-worshipping and shielding a notorious gangster. A story very much in the mold of the film Angels With Dirty Faces.

FRAN FRAZER; After photographer Fran Frazer is invited to photograph the King of Serbania, she finds out that the person she photographed was an imposter. As a result, she and her rival Hal Davis are forced to rescue the real king from a gang of Nazi agents.

KEITH KORNELL; In the first of a series of stories that showed Keith Kornell as a commander of a platoon of enlistees. In this story, Lieutenant Kornell finds that his days as a cadet at West Point were over - due to a national emergency - as he was assigned to train a platoon of enlistees. Nick Zural delivers on the art.

THE FIREFLY; Warren King delivers on the artwork as the Firefly investigates the goings-on at an insane asylum run by a crooked doctor.

THE ST. LOUIS KID; Lin Streeter shows what happens when boxer Jim Jennings tries to check on his old girlfriend, only to find himself saving a woman from a mugging. Watch what happens to Jennings when he does just that.

WINGS JOHNSON; In the fist part of a two parter, Wings Johnson and his partner Henry Higgins investigate an interfering pilot flying a Hawker Hurricane only to find themselves captives on a Nazi sub. Featuring the work of his familiar writer/artist team of Joe Blair and Ed Smalle.

BOB PHANTOM; Here Walt Whitney begins investigating a series of suicides involving members of a mayor's reelection campaign. And once he finds out that it was murder, then he is forced into action as Bob Phantom. Featuring artwork by Bernie Klein.

KARDAK; The book closes as Kardak and Balthar teaches a lesson in generosity to an old miser threatening a group of rural farmers.

Looking at the contents of Top-Notch #13, the people at MLJ managed to show how they were able to keep the quality of the book's features up the high standards one expects of a book whose title means of the highest quality. And considering that this book was part of a very strong 19 issue run of issues (which started with issue #9), it was a tribute to the people at MLJ that they were able to maintain such a high level of quality.
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