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)