Steve Conrad’s series begins with the subtitle “on the Island of Dolorosa”, and the first eight chapters take place on this island. It opens mid-stream, or mid-tidal wave I should say, as Steve, Myra and Captain Judd get separated from Sam and Keith. We don’t really learn who these people are until much later in the series, and never learn why they came to the island in the first place.
Dolorosa is populated by a tribe that have ape-like heads, called the Zoanthropis, who are lead by a white man named Devachan. He has Myra captured, and wants to sacrifice her, but Steve rescues her and they escape from the Zoanthropis by diving into the crater of an extinct volcano. Here they encounter the “Sea People”, another island tribe who swim a lot, and who are lead by another white man, Professor Bombay of Eton Medical College. Coincidentally, Sam and Keith are also down in the crater with these guys. Either Sam or Keith is a black man, but who is who is never made clear.
Professor Bombay enlists Steve and friends in his war with Devachan and the Zoanthropis. As the fighting is going on, Captain Judd spots a passing ship and gets its attention. Devachan, seeing that his tribe is losing the battle, has a switch which will somehow destroy the island, and he pulls it just as Steve and his buddies get rescued by the passing schooner. The island explodes, killing all the tribesmen, and Professor Bombay, but Devachan survives.
With issue 14 the name of the series changes to The Adventures of Steve Conrad, and we are informed that on board the schooner are Steve, Myra Rutherford, Captain Hugo Judd, Professor Bromberg, and a stowaway.
So either Sam or Keith must be Professor Bromberg. Is the black guy a stowaway? What was he stowing away on? Why has he been just one of the gang until now? None of these questions are answered, as we never see him again, nor is there any further mention of this stowaway. Also mystifying is that the captain of the schooner, who was seen in the previous chapter bringing them to the ship, is nowhere in sight, and Captain Judd is in charge.
Devachan gets onboard and starts murdering the crew. Steve fights him, and they fall into the sea. Myra dives in to help, but they are separated from the schooner, which is never seen again.
They tie Devachan to a mast they find floating in the water, and then spend four days hanging on to it until they all wash up on the shore of Boa Island.
Boa Island is populated mostly by women, though there is a man in charge of them, Tangi. He has Steve and Myra tied up, but Steve is freed by a helpful monkey. Steve gets stuck having to fight Devachan, and after he beats him then he has to fight a group of “bronzed men”, the Appolons, from nearby Hercumo Island, who regularly come over to Boa Island to find brides. Steve defeats the Appolons, but their not-bronzed king, Olam, has already claimed Myra for a bride. Steve somehow has obtained a bow and arrows, and shoots them at Olam. As he swoops in to rescue Myra, she rebuffs him and has him captured. Why the heck she does this is never explained. Not even Steve understands.
But whatever prompted Myra to do this, she clearly regrets it as in the next chapter Steve escapes from his captors and once again gets Myra away from Olam, though this time she is happy about it. As they flee by vine, Devachan cuts it, sending Steve falling into an alligator pit, and Myra into quicksand. Steve eludes the alligators, but gets stuck in the quicksand as he tries to rescue Myra. The helpful monkey sees all this, and throws a coconut to get the attention of a geeky and never-before seen explorer, who runs away.
The strip takes a bit of a hiatus at this point. Will Steve and Myra survive? Do they spend nearly two years in quicksand waiting to be rescued?
Steve Conrad returns in the Early Golden Age
Steve Conrad: New Comics 6 – 11 (July – Dec 36)
New Adventure Comics 12 – 20 (Jan – Oct 37), 23 – 25 (Jan – Apr 38)