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Posts tagged ‘Biff Bronson’

Biff Bronson (Early Golden Age)

Biff Bronson‘s series plays out much the way it had begun.  Decent art on passable stories, but virtually no characterization of the lead.  In his final appearance Biff defines himself as a “freelancer,” but if this means he is a private detective it’s the only indication of that.  He is just a guy, quick with his fists, who winds up in the midst of a lot of criminal activity.

Dan Druff fares no better in the sidekick position.  We see in More Fun 57 that they share a home, though whether it’s a house or apartment is not clear.  Dan’s mother appears briefly in issue 55, and Biff’s Uncle  Jim is in 64.  Uncle Jim lives in Connecticut, and that’s about his only distinguishing trait.

Most of the stories only run one issue, but there is a three-part story, running from More Fun 53 – 55 that pits Biff and Dan against The Wizard, a little old mad scientist who has built an army of “thousands” of robots (we don’t actually see that many) with which he intends to conquer the US.  Biff figures out how to disable the robots, knocking their brain batteries out, and guts one to wear its “body” and infiltrate the Wizard’s base to blow up their power supply.  He succeeds, but the Wizard uses a paralysis gun on him, and Biff is paralyzed from the waist down, trapped near the bomb he has rigged.  Dan saves the day, coming to rescue Biff in another hollowed out robot body.

There is also a two-part story, in More Fun 60 and 61, with Dr. Zabkin, who has developed serums that turn ordinary people into sideshow freaks, who he then sells through his associate Kapek.  Biff almost gets turned into one himself before turning the tables on Zabkin, who gets thoroughly trounced by his victims after their normal bodies are restored.

There is not much else to say about the character or the series.  Biff exposes the chief of police as the mastermind behind a protection scam in issue 66, and stops the assassination of a government minister from Bulovia in 67, his final story.  The FBI offer him a place in their organization, but Biff insists he wants to stay freelance.

But then we see no more of him.  Odd, isn’t it?  Did the FBI not take kindly to being rebuffed?  Was their offer not actually a choice?  Will we ever know the ultimate fate of freelance freelancer Biff Bronson?

Since I am going to close it on that note, probably not.

Biff Bronson:  More Fun Comics 51 – 67 (Jan 40 – May 41)

All-Star Comics 1  (Summer 40)

Socko Strong

One might expect a series entitled Socko Strong to be about a boxer.  He is a challenger for the heavyweight championship, and instructs as well, but Socko Strong is primarily an adventure series, with a boxer as its star.  His sidekick is the short, glasses-wearing moustachioed Jerry Indutch, and together they get shanghaied onto a steamer in the first chapter.

Socko breaks a hole in the ship, causing it to flood, and both he and Jerry are abandoned when the rest take the lifeboats.  Nevertheless, they survive and make it to a tropical island, all in the first installment.

They spend the next three chapters trying to make it back home.  On the island, they find Sedburns, a pilot who crashed there seven years ago, and a native tribe who want to kill them.  They escape by raft, winding up on the ship the Flying Dutchman, although this one is not the one from legend, merely named for it by explorer Sir Charles Starwin, who is heading for Dinosaur Island.  Of course, it’s not written that way, Dinosaur Island would not make it’s official debut for decades, but an island full of dinosaurs and cavemen in the DC Universe?  It’s Dinosaur Island.

They are rescued by Sedburns, and finally make it back to the US.

In issue 44 we learn that Jerry is a newspaper photographer.  He must have been very upset at not having a camera with him through the last three issues, but he doesn’t mention that.

Issue 45, the last before my cut-off, blew my mind.  No other word for it.  Socko gets hits by a car, driven by gamblers trying to fix the heavyweight fight he is up for.  The story convolutes a bit, but the important thing is that Socko decides he needs help dealing with this, and so he enlists Biff Bronson!  The first crossover in DC!  He mentions having read about Biff’s cases in More Fun Comics, establishing the idea that comic books about the various characters exist in the reality they live in.

The story climaxes with a boxing match between Socko and Biff, which messes up the gamblers plans.

Socko Strong continues in the Early Golden Age

Socko Strong:  Adventure Comics  40 – 45  (July -Dec 39)

Biff Bronson

Biff Bronson is a series with very good art, but stories that fail to match the art’s quality.  Part of the problem is that we never learn anything about Biff.  He travels around with his sidekick Dan Druff, capturing murderers and jewel thieves, but has no profession that we can see.

In issue 46 he is hired to keep watch on the man carrying the Matchwell Pearls to the “Royal Museum” in England, but the man gets murdered anyway, so he isn’t very good at that.  No problem, the next issue the gems were called the Kashmere Pearls, so I doubt anyone was paying enough attention to get mad at Biff.

As one might expect with the name Biff Bronson, our hero is a fist-fighter, not afraid to put up his dukes when someone else pulls a gun.

In the first story, Biff mentions an ailing mother, and in the second he and Dan are “out west,” after putting her in a sanitorium, which I’m thinking is just a scary name for a retirement home.  They head to Mexico after that, and kill a bandit leader.

The adventures themselves are straightforward, and this could be a much better series, if only we knew something about the main character.

Biff Bronson continues in the Early Golden Age

Biff Bronson:  More Fun Comics  43 – 50  (May – Dec 39)

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