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Archive for November, 2011

Rusty and his Pals (Early Golden Age)


The second (and last) serial begins in issue 46 by “re-introducing” Rusty and his Pals.  I put that in quotations because they were poorly introduced when the series began, taking a few issues before we learned their names.  And even so, the intro blurbs tell us little. Rusty is courageous, Specs is bookish and Tubby eats a lot.

The story picks up as the boys wander an Engish moor, get lost in a storm and find a huge old house.  Bob Kane does some of his best art on the run with the house.  There is a long hallway, with a hammer-beamed ceiling, and some other great, moody interiors. I would love to say these were the basis of Wayne Manor, but Kane never drew it to look this good.

There is a paranoid old man in the house, and his rude bodyguard, but the bodyguard gets killed by “natives” and the old man has a heart attack, and they seek out his nephew Angus McHeather (which means his father’s name was Heather, which is weird).  They follow a trail that leads them deep below the house, and learn about the old man’s past in a travelling carnival that went broke in Malay (current Malaysia, though that’s probably obvious).  The man and three others killed a tribe of Malay and stole their bejewelled idol, which the old man in turn stole from the other three.

So now Rusty and his pals join Angus on a journey to Malay, where they face not only angry natives seeking vengeance, but also the other three men, determined to find the treasure.

The serial is pretty good, though Angus is a poor substitute for Steve Carter, though he does save the boys in the end, using ventriloquism to make the natives think their killer gorilla, and later the idol itself, it talking.

After all is resolved, the boys journey home in the last two panels of issue 52.  They arrive back home just in time for a Fourth of July celebration, and the parents are so relieved to have them back that they do not seem stressed about the fact that the boys look years older than they did when they left, or that Rusty’s hair changed colour from blond to the more logical red.

The series ends here, but knowing these boys, I have little doubt that when the US entered World War II they would have lied about their ages and entered the forces.

Rusty and his Pals:  Adventure Comics 46- 52 (Jan – July 40)

Larry Steele (Early Golden Age)


Larry Steele continues with his private detective cases in this era.  Although we learn nothing more about him, we do see that he lives in apartment on his own, somewhat explaining why his parents no longer appear in the series.  But as a result, he has no supporting cast at all.  The series goes through quite a variety of artists, and, I expect, writers.  The art is mediocre at best, and just awful at times, though the stories are really not that bad for the most part.

The most notable thing about this series is that, from around issue 47 to issue 57, most stories include a black character.  They are always in menial jobs, but are not portrayed in the usual stereotypical fashion, played for comic relief.  And while so many of the black characters have looked less than human, these look authentically like black men and women.  Their dialogue is rendered in dialect, but not in a mocking way.  “Look!  Drivin dat truck! Dere’s de man what give me de ten dollahs!”

Aside from that, there isn’t a lot unique to this series. Larry deals with a rich man who fakes his own death, a vengeful murder for love at a circus, stolen furs and a poisoned racehorse.  He is hired to protect a number of actresses.

He does go on a date in issue 54, with Delia, to her rich Uncle John’s house, where he has to solve the uncle’s murder.  Delia is not seen again, though.

Larry is given a recurring villain just before his series concludes, the Seal.  The Seal is the leader of a gang of thieves, who wears a costume that gives him big flippers over his fists.  Neither of his mass robbery schemes pan out, though the second one, in issue 63, has some creativity to it, as he uses blinding light to disorient the tellers when his men rob their banks.

Issue 63 is also Larry’s final appearance.  I like to think he married Delia at this point, and retired from a life of danger to spend her dead uncle’s money.

 

Larry Steele:  Detective Comics 43 – 63  (Sep 40 – May 42)

Slam Bradley (Early Golden Age)


Slam Bradley‘s adventures continue through this era, and by the end of 1942, Slam and Shorty are formally running a detective agency.  Despite his many appearances, we learn nothing more about Slam in this era, though we do see that he and Shorty share a home as well as a business, and a bed.

1940 opens with a bang as Slam and Shorty join the French Foreign Legion to bring a killer back to face justice.  Their next case takes them to Shanghai, then far into mainland China, and after that Slam inherits a racehorse, and deals with the machinations of gamblers as he takes the horse all the way to the Kentucky Derby.

These and other stories from the period are reliably written by Jerry Siegel, if a tad on the going-through-the-motions level, but the art is not on par.  The narration in issue 39 informs us that Slam “bounces gracefully off an awning,” but the accompanying illustration looks farcically awkward.

The only story during the remainder of Siegel’s run (he left the series with issue 54) that shows any of his voice is issue 48, in which the workers who want to unionize are the good guys, and the mine owners are corrupt and exploitive.

Slam appears in the 1940 New York World’s Fair, the first of his stories to be drawn by Howard Sherman.  Slam and Shorty are riding the parachute drop, when Slam spies some flashing lights on a boat in the harbour.  So once again the story takes them out of the park right away.  At least they return at the end to ride the rollercoaster.

Howard Sherman’s unusual art works adequately on Slam Bradley, but really does nothing to add to it, and the 20 or so issues he drew are reliable, but lack spark.  The New York World’s Fair story shows his wonderfully odd way of drawing water.  I suppose it’s just bad.  His water looks incredibly solid, like a field of oddly shaped little pyramids, but I just love it.  To me it feels like art deco water.

But while his stylizations helped to create the mood of the Dr. Fate series, here they are just unusual conceits.  The elongated crossbar in each letter “E” for example.

Sherman illustrates Slam’s adventures as he and Shorty witness a mob killing, and save a cop from being framed. They deal with crimes at a boxing match, hockey game and baseball game, and also hit an amusement park, and have a backstage murder mystery at a big Broadway musical.

Once Siegel and Sherman were gone, the art varied from decent to atrocious.  To me it seems like there was one writer for a while, someone who liked Shakespeare, as over a span of 15 issues or so Slam makes four different Shakespeare allusions (along the lines of issue 62’s “something smells rotten – and not in the state of Denmark”), and even has the bad guys reading Shakespeare in issue 68.

In issue 59 we learn that Slam and Shorty run the Wide-Awake Detective Agency, but in later issues the sign on the door simply says Bradley and Morgan, Private Detectives.

Each story does try to stand out, and Slam has stories at a casino, with a phony seance, at a weight loss gym, a symphony, a dentist and a carnival.  There is a missing elephant and a runaway monkey, both involved in crimes (can’t trust the animals). Two of his adventures involve golf courses.  One takes them to Hollywood.

But there is little that really stands out, and Slam loses his prime spot at the back of Detective Comics, and moves to the middle of the book.  The art in the 1944 stories is, frankly, abysmal.

But nonetheless, Slam Bradley continues in the Late Golden Age, the earliest series to last that long.

Slam Bradley:  Detective Comics 35 – 89 (Jan 40 – July 44)

New York World’s Fair 1940

Spy (Early Golden Age)


Spy lasted well into World War II, and though Bart Regan faced wave after wave of spies and saboteurs, curiously he never went to do any actual spying in Axis countries.  Jerry Siegel continued as writer for the first year or so, but then the scripting was passed to lesser talents, as the art already had been.

The serious tone of the series continued throughout this era.  We learn nothing more about Bart, never see him at home, and he has no regular partner, though in occasional stories he works with people he meets on the assignment.  It all stays in the realm of possibility, though there are plans for amazing weapons, and a lightning gun in issue 38.  But really, all these stories read much more like the police/detective stories that are currently running.  Aside from the motivation of the criminals, many of the foreign plots play out like normal bad guys.  For example, Bart deals with immigrant smuggling by the mob in issue 44, and in issue 73 deals with people who smuggle in cubans who are now smuggling in japanese.

Bart gets one interesting villain, in issue 46, who wears a mask but claims he was born deformed, with a goldfish-coloured head.  The story gets followed up in issue 48 (more illegal immigrant smuggling), but Goldfish Man does not return.

From issues 55 – 57  Bart escorts and guards Jules Vortez, a “defector” travelling to Washington DC. I’m not sure if defector is the appropriate word, but his nebulous foreign country is on the Axis side, and has sent out assassins to kill him before he reaches the capitol.

Issue 65 features a murderous genius who implants explosives while pretending to be a repairman.  Despite not actually being a foreign agent, in the splash for the story he is wearing a big swastika armband.  The stories following 55 were written after the attack on Pearl Harbour, and until the end of his run Bart would be dealing with sabotage and weird plots to destroy America.

One thing you can’t help but notice in the last 20 or so tales is that anyone at all could be a Nazi plant or sympathizer.  The candy shop owner, wrestlers, lunch wagon staff, monkeys, there are Nazis everywhere you turn, all plotting the downfall of the US.

While I can understand the fearful reaction to Pearl Harbour that resulted in this, I see the ground being laid for the communist witch hunts in the decade that followed.

Bart’s final case involved a native tribe that, while not actually harbouring secret Nazis itself, is the base of a white guide who is an undercover German agent.

I could send Bart off to the front lines, or behind them, at this point.  But he has Sally back home, and a nest of kids by now I’m sure, so I think Bart gets promoted at this point, reaching the higher levels of power in the O.S.S., and likely help found the C.I.A. after the war.

 

Spy:  Detective Comics  35- 77  (Jan 40 – July 43),  81 – 83  (Nov 43 – Jan 44)

Cosmo, the Phantom of Disguise (Early Golden Age)


Cosmo, the Phantom of Disguise gets only three stories in this era,  none of them very exciting.  He is in disguise for two of the three, which keeps to his normal ratio.  As before, we learn nothing personal about him, and so never do find out if Cosmo is a first or last name.

Issue 35 sees Cosmo in disguise as a homeless man as he tracks down a killer who escaped prison by faking death by using “oriental suspended animation” skills, and then in 36 he heads out to Arizona to solve a case of missing cattle, which turns into murder.  He pretends to be an artist in this one, but adopts no disguise, and really doesn’t even put much effort into the artist ploy – we never see him paint of draw or anything.

In his final story he goes undercover as a sailor on the Sea Swan, investigating a series of ships that have gone  missing while crossing the Atlantic.  It turns out the vice-president of the line is selling these ships and their cargo to the Nazis.  Some of the crew are in on the scam, and lead a mutiny, then turn the ship over to the Germans, who arrive in a u-boat.  Cosmo infiltrates the mutineers and ruins their plans, and when the u-boat surfaces, Cosmo and Captain Barker have it shot at, blowing it up.

They stand on deck rejoicing over their victory, but I think this is short-lived.  The sub would certainly have been in contact with the rest of the fleet – more than one sub would be needed to deal with the ship and its crew and prisoners.  I fear that though they blew up one sub, there were more around, and the Sea Swan was torpedoed and sunk, killing Cosmo and all the others aboard.

Cosmo, the Phantom of Disguise: Detective Comics  35 – 37  (Jan – Mar 40)

Speed Saunders (Early Golden Age)


Speed Saunders continues his run, with art by Guardineer for the first year.  It’s not Guardineer’s best, but it’s much better than what comes after he leaves the series.  We learn nothing more about Speed during the part of his run, in fact, we learn less than we did in the early days, as we never see his home, and he never gets a supporting cast.

In issue 39 it appears that he will get a sidekick.  He recruits Danny, a street kid, to help him keep an eye on a nest of Siva worshippers, and the boy gets commended by the police chief.  We are told in the last panel that Danny will be Speed’s new assistant, but then never see him again.  And I breathed a sigh of relief over that.

In fact, the stories that follow 30 are the most intense of the run.  Speed is thrown off a cliff by jewel thieves, hunts them down and viciously beats them.  He gets tied up and beaten by railway thieves, and after a gambler kills a man, Speed digs up the decaying corpse in the basement of his house.

With issue 48 the series changes direction once again, becoming much more of a whodunit strip. Each story has Speed come across a murder, often in an unusual location – a train, and airplane, a baseball diamond during a game.  Speed investigates for a couple of pages, and then there is box informing the reader that the clues are all there, and challenging them to determine the identity of the killer, which Speed reveals and explains on the final page.

The first few of these are quite good.  Even though the killer is fairly obvious in most, the critical clue is not always blatant.  I think the best of these was the airplane murder in issue 54.  An apparent suicide, Speed deduces it was murder and that the suicide note was a fake by the fact that it was written clearly.  If it had been written during the flight, the words would be jagged and bumpy.

In issue 58 Speed solves “The Cigarette Murder,” identifying the killed by ashes left in the tray while the butts were removed, and then his series ends.  As this story is dated December 1941, I cannot help but feel that the attack on Pearl Harbour spurred Speed to leave the force and enlist in the army in some capacity.

Speed Saunders:  Detective Comics  35 – 58 (Jan 40 – Dec 41)

Detective Sergeant Carey (Early Golden Age)


Detective Sergeant Carey and his sidekick Sleepy continue their four page stories.  There is nothing remarkable for the first few months apart from a decent tale of a university professor who dresses as a giant bat to test his substitute blood on sleeping students.

Issue 59 deals with stolen Chinese War Relief funds, and Carey finds the saboteur ruining test flights of a new war plane in 61, and then from issues 63 to 67 Casey is dealing only with foreign spies and saboteurs.  He finds them everywhere.  He finds an enemy sub when he and Sleepy go fishing.

And perhaps because the writer so clearly felt this worth talking about, these are some of the better stories in the entire run.  In issue 63 Carey goes to investigate a supposed haunted house down on the waterfront, and discovers a plan to destroy the Pacific fleet as it sails through the “canal” (and they seem to be referring to the Panama Canal).  Carey pilots a plane down, intercepts the foreign agents, and flies his plane into theirs, exploding both as he parachutes down, with an aerial view of the canal below.

Sin Fu makes a return appearance, kidnapping Diana Dart, the daughter of the police captain, to lure Carey into his hands.  The squad saves them, and Sin Fu heads back to prison.

In his final story, in issue 72, Carey is ordered to protect a chinese banker who has flown over to negotiate a war loan, but the man is killed by poison gas.  Carey tracks the killers, and when he finds them shoots through the window from the fire escape, hitting the gas canister, causing it to explode.  The room is destroyed, and Carey is blasted as well, falling off the fire escape.

In the final panel we see him in the hospital, heavily bandaged.  That he survived at all is amazing, and I am certain his series ended because he was now incapacitated for life.

Detective Sergeant Carey:  More Fun Comics 51 – 72 (Jan 40 – Oct 41)

Pep Morgan (Early Golden Age)


Pep Morgan was the all-round athlete went from high school to university, moving to Ardale with his parents, and alternated between college and professional sports.  In his last stories, he had become a bodyguard for an industrialist, and was heading home on vacation.  As the series continues, Pep would go through some wild career/schooling changes, and I believe we can see the sad story underlining it.

Pep is an athlete, but when it comes to dealing with the bad guys, he basically just beats people up.  When he can get his hands on a gun he will use it, but essentially he is just a brawler, and I think the stories we read of him show those in a positive light, but I suspect he had many fights that did not.  It would explain a few things.

So he comes home on vacation and is playing baseball on the city team when Jimmy Dee crash lands his plane on the diamond.  Pep helps save the man, who offers him a job as his mechanic as he competes in the Air Races.  Apparently aside from needing no qualifications, the mechanic sits in the rear seat of the biplane – perhaps to perform repairs while the fly.  At any rate, Jimmy passes out and with no teaching time whatsoever, Pep takes the controls and wins the race.

He then takes a brief job as the bodyguard to a racehorse owner in Florida, then returns to Ardale and spends his time hanging out with the volunteer firemen.  This boy has lost his direction in life.  He goes to Pennsylvania to aid a cousin who owns a mine against workers who want to strike – now he is simply a hired goon.

Pep goes back to Florida in issue 24 and gets a tryout to be a substitute pitcher on a professional team.  He gets wind of a plot by gamblers to kill the primary pitcher, Fog Bellows, and Pep messes up his tryout to save Fog’s life.  He gets booted, and although at the end he is told he is back on, this must just mean he is allowed to finish the tryout, because in the very next issue Pep is in England, on a cruiser in the Channel, as a war correspondent.

So there is no way he made the team.  Now why on earth a newspaper would choose to send this boy to England as a reporter is beyond me – and, in fact, the story goes far beyond the bounds of reality.  After not only the ship Pep is on gets torpedoed, but the rescue ship as well, the lifeboat capsizes.  Pep swims around tirelessly saving people until the sub surfaces and they are brought on board.  Despite being an american kid and not in the military, Pep is brought before the sub`s commander, and manages to get his gun from him and single-handedly take over the sub.

The commander of the sub wears a white uniform, which I thought was odd.  As they are showing England at war, why would they not depict the nazis as they appeared?

Then it become clear.  The art “error” is our clue to confirm that this story is a preposterous tale – this is the story Pep told people to explain why he left for a while, rather than telling them the truth about his dismal Florida tryout.

Pep has a pretty good adventure in the Saskatchewan “district” of Canada in the next issue, 26.  He is hunting with a local guide, who speaks French and is named Pierre, but I let that pass.  After Pierre breaks his leg Pep endures quite genuine threats in a snowstorm to get Pierre to some safety, and then to a Hudson’s Bay Post to get help.

Pep battles some more gamblers in two adventures as he competes in college track meets, though it is unclear what college he is in, I believe these should come after issue 29, and be placed in Midtown.

George Papp takes over the art with issue 29, as Pep goes on a summer vacation to Cambodia to hunt a legendary monster that turns out to be a dinosaur.  I think we can put this tale in the “Pep’s lies” category.

So with issue 30 Pep is now attending Midtown College, sharing a dorm with Slim Pickens, and they talk a fair amount about studying chemistry.  His failed professional career behind him, Pep is taking another shot at schooling.  But Slim seems not to be the best roommate for Pep, perhaps.  Slim is rich, he buys himself a jet plane and takes Pep on a couple of adventures in it, and his uncle lives on an estate nearby, which he rides to by horse.  Pep gets a taste of the good life, and maybe a bit more.

Pep and Slim are on many teams together, and after Pep scores a goal in a hockey match, Slim says “I could kiss you.”, to which Pep gives the response, “That’s just like you, Slim, getting romantic with ten thousand people watching.  Why don’t you wait.”

Soooooo, Slim and Pep are more than just roomies.

Slim gets kidnapped in issue 38, and Pep of course is the one to hunt down the kidnappers and save his guy – but this may have outed them?  Slim is not seen again after this story, and with issue 39 Pep is playing baseball at a new university, Midwest College, with a different chemistry instructor.

Given Pep’s propensity for violence, I’m going to toss a lover’s quarrel into the pot, and make that the explanation.  Whatever it was, it was extreme enough to make Pep change schools and cities midway through a term.

In issue 40 Pep is out of school again, and takes another bodyguard job, this time for Don Alvera, from the South American country of Chileanos, who has come to the US to sell diamonds on behalf of the government.  Impressed with Pep, Don Alvera beings him back to Chileanos, just in time for Pep to rescue the president of the country from being kidnapped.  In 41, the final issue of Pep’s run, Don Alvera brings him to his ranch in the country, where Pep is pitted against the local bandit king, Tuerto, whom he kills.

The last we see of Pep he is embracing the prone Juantia, as her father Don Alversa looks on approvingly.  After his failed gay relationship, his failed professional baseball career, and his many failed attempts at college, Pep settles down in Chileanos, becoming the muscle behind the powers the run the country.  And after marrying Juantia, and becoming heir to Don Alvera, Pep was sure to rule like a warlord.

I imagine, in the end, Pep was unable to accept the frailties of age, and attempted some fight or daring act when his body was no longer capable of it, and died stupidly.

Pep Morgan:  Action Comics 20 – 41 (Jan 40 – Oct 41)

Radio Squad (Early Golden Age)


Radio Squad continued in the Early Golden Age, but Sandy Keane was no longer the star of it.  Larry Trent is often given top billing, and was just as likely to save the day as Sandy was in this period.  Jerry Siegel continued scripting, though I am not sure he lasted till the end of the series.  The art was shuffled to different people. Some have very good art, some have passable, and some are just downright awful.

The stories remain in the realm of reality for the most part, as Sandy and Larry deal with murderers and thieves.  They get a handful of “creative” villains, such as The Cloak, who is secretly the victim of his bombing and theft campaign, out for insurance, or the Ghost, who uses a glider to rob warehouses from above.  The only one to appear twice was the Leopardess, a jewel thief, though she was never played up as a romantic interest for either of the men.

There is little acknowledgement of the war.  A few stories touch on it, with foreign spies, or a theft of drugs intended for the military.  In one case they prevent the hijacking of relief supplies being shipped to Europe, but that’s the extent of it.

A few of the villains have weaponry that is a little beyond the norm.  The Storm Raiders have a gun that shoots bolts of electricity, and the Evil One has a paralysis ray gun.  Satan, who named himself that because of a facial disfigurement, devises an arsenic gas gun.

Larry, not Sandy, is the one to get a girlfriend during the run.  Issue 64 deals with the sinking of a pleasure boat full of children.  Larry rescues young Timmy, and meets his sister, Lorna Drake.  The next issue has a tale about juvenile delinquents being used by mobsters.  Timmy falls into danger, and Lorna calls on Larry for help.

Parenthetically, that is also the story in which they get a new radio car.  Up until now their car was designated  “X-7,” but it gets rammed into a telephone pole during the course of the tale, and at the end Sandy is driving a new car as Larry and Lorna flirt.  Later issues will reveal that they are now in “Car 54.”

Anyway, back to Lorna.  Issue 67 has a complicated by rewarding tale, which opens with a drive-by shooting of an FBI agent.  It’s Lorna’s birthday, and while investigating the shooting, Larry buys a curio from a reluctant antiques dealer, whose shop the murder occurred outside of.  The curio contains stolen plans, and we are suddenly immersed in international espionage, with the Evil One and his paralysis ray gun, attempting to find a murder Prince Ivor, the exiled ruler of his nation.  It turns out Timmy is really Prince Ivor, and Lorna has been sheltering him.

Issue 68 reveals that Lorna works at a “settlement house,” which seems to be a place for troubled kids.  Larry beings her Teddy, an orphan boy hanging out at the waterfront (and witness to a crime) to take care of.

Lorna’s final appearance is in issue 73, as we meet her siblings Sparky and Emma, both rodeo riders.  The story makes it clear that Larry has met Sparky before this point, so it’s safe to assume his relationship with Lorna is continuing solidly, if off-panel.

In their final appearance they deal with a sound effects man and his ventriloquist partner, who use phony radio dispatches to take the police far from the sites of actual crimes.

Neither Sandy Keane nor Larry Trent make any further appearances after their series concludes.  But I think these guys did a bang-up job in their seven years patrolling the streets, and I’m sure they were promoted to detectives at this point.

Radio Squad:  More Fun Comics 52 – 87  (Feb 40 – Jan 43)

Steve Conrad, Adventurer (Early Golden Age)


So remember how the last time we saw Steve Conrad, the villain Devachan had sent him falling into an alligator pit while Myra was sinking in quicksand?  Well, the writer didn’t.  After nearly two years, Steve Conrad returns in a new series that completely ignores the previous one.  He now has a short, fat chinese sidekick with glasses, Chang.  Presumably Myra died in the quicksand, and Steve was severely mauled by the alligator and spent a couple of years recovering, during which he and Chang became buddies.

In this run, Steve travels the world having one-shot adventures.  Chang is there for racist comic relief.  For a while he is even featured in the logo, saying “humourous” things.

The series does not start off badly.  Singapore Sal, a jewel thief, is introduced in an entertaining story in issue 48, framed for theft, though its the owner of the jewels who was the real thief.  She makes an impressive return in issue 51, captaining a ship out to a reef to retrieve a nest of pearls, though Steve fakes her out and makes her throw them overboard.

In mid-1940 the setting for the stories curiously moves from the South Pacific to Europe.  The August 1940 issue sees Steve and Chang get mixed up with good spies and bad spies in Paris, but with no acknowledgement of the nazi invasion a few months earlier.  Even more egregious is the following issue, as Steve and Chang cruise the Mediterranean, commenting on how safe and peaceful it is!

With issue 56 Europe is left behind, and the series jumps around a lot.  Now Steve is in the south seas, now in Africa, now in India, now Brazil, now back in Africa.  As the Second World War spreads, Steve’s adventures feel increasingly awkward, the locations he is going to were all becoming sites of military action, though his stories never acknowledged that.

More uncomfortably, in tale after tale Steve comes to the aid of plantation owners, mine owners, industrialists – all white people needing help against the indigenous populations they are exploiting, and Steve is always happy to kill the natives.  The native peoples are invariably portrayed as purely evil, and no credence is given to their desire to control their own lands.  In most of the stories they are too busy wanting to kidnap and rape white women.

The art is decent for much of the run, though downright awful at times.  Issue 63 sees Steve and Chang in Egypt, and the panels of Steve climbing, and falling off, a pyramid are so poorly drawn that without narrative I would never have understood what I was looking at.

As the series nears it end it moves further from the real world.  In issue 69 Steve seeks out and finds a “hidden land” of dinosaurs and cavemen.  Exactly the kind of story I love, but this is poorly told, with unexciting art.  Issue 70 has Steve seek for sunken treasure in a fictional location, and though he does go to India in issue 72, he deals with thought-controlled robotic tigers.

In issue 73 a scientist sends Steve through time with a machine he has invented, and Steve has a short adventure in a weird Egyptian/Babylonian culture.

The final two installments take place in India.  Steve is once again called to help white plantation owners, but the “menace”  is a Mowgli-type boy, riding a tame tiger.  Steve befriends the lad, and determines that he is really a very tanned white boy.  He is staying at the plantation of Colonel Bently, whose daughter Jane accompanies Steve into the jungle.  As the series ends, Steve announces he is going to solve the mystery of Tarsi, the jungle boy, and Jane declares that she will be right at his side as he does this.

With no further appearances, we can assume that Steve and Jane became a couple, raising Tarsi like a son.  Though with India’s push or independence following World War II I would not expect his plantation life to have lasted much past that.

Steve Conrad:  Adventure Comics 47 – 75  (Feb 40 – July 42)

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