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Red Logan (Early Golden Age)

Red Logan‘s series returns in Detective Comics nearly a year after it ended in More Fun.  Red is in England, working out of an office in the Daily Mail in London as a foreign correspondent for the Times Courier, still with Ivan as his massive sidekick.

He is held in high esteem by Scotland Yard, who not only call him in to aid with their cases, but actually pull their own officers so he can investigate on his own.  This may be because Red saves the life of Inspector Enright, the one who keeps calling him in.

Red’s first case involves what appear to be vampire murders, but are actually deaths caused by a mad scientist stealing people’s blood.  His second case, with murders done by a cobra lowered into a sleeping person’s room, is clearly derived from a Sherlock Holmes short story with the same method of murder.  In issue 40 Red works with a blind detective after a woman killed by a speeding car is discovered to have stolen war plans in her possession, which leads them to a boarding house that is a nest of spies.

That is the final story in England.  With no explanation Red returns to the US for his final three adventures, though as the bombing of Britain had begun by this point, I’m sure that’s why he was brought home.

Issue 41 has his most interesting story, as Red testifies at the trial of gangster Bugsie Gordon, who is found guilty and executed, but who seemingly returns from the grave to kill those who caught him.  Red figures out that the murderer is really Bugsie’s twin brother.

Red’s final case seems to be based on the Linbergh kidnapping, as he hunts down the mob behind the kidnapping and murder of a child.  Red goes all out with this one, shaving his head, getting his teeth capped and even getting a lotion from a skin doctor to alter his colouring.

And though Red is triumphant in bringing the killers to justice, one cannot help but wonder if the skin lotion was not the safest thing to use.  Red Logan never appears again, and I suspect anything potent enough to alter your skin colour is going to have some nasty long term side effects.

Red Logan:  Detective Comics  38 -43  (Apr – Sep 40)

Red Logan

Red Logan is an investigative reporter for the Times Courier who thinks nothing of diving out a window to jump on a speeding car to follow a lead on a story.  He is sent on a simple assignment to the Cosmopolitan Museum, and a display of chinese woven tapestry.  The museum’s director gets shot, the tapestries get stolen, and in chasing the bad guys Red gets captured, trussed up and thrown off of a bridge.

He survives, of course.  Not only does he track down the thieves, he figures out that the tapestries are being used to smuggle opium, and that the museum director was the mastermind, getting shot was just to divert suspicion.

After that 3 – parter, Red has a one shot tale, in which gangster Giovanni Gumbardo is acquitted, despite overwhelming evidence.  Red roots out the ones who threatened the jurors, and gets additional evidence of a protection scam, and Gumbardo is sent to prison.

I believe this is why, in the next issue, 35, Red is moved to the Foreign Office, and sent far away from potential gangland retribution, on a serial that runs to issue 40.

He sails to Boronia, acting almost as bodyguard for the Boronian ambassador, but plans go haywire when the dictator of the country is murdered.  Boronia and Blurbia mass for war, but Red uncovers documentation showing that someone else was behind the murder, provoking the situation to cause a war, and so peace is maintained.  Doesn’t make a lot of sense, but this is early 1939, and reflects the fears of war.

There is an actual bodyguard, who just sort of leaves that job to become Red’s sidekick in this tale, Ivan, a massive Russian.

In issue 37 the DC Universe is created, with a casual comment.  Ivan does not recognize him at first when they meet in a crowd, and Red says “Who did you think that it was, Slam Bradley?”

Bam, a universe is born.

Up to this point every one of the series existed in a universe of its own.  There was no connexion at all between them, no notion that characters from one strip could appear in another.

It’s debatable whether Slam Bradley is a real, living amateur detective in Red Logan’s universe, or whether he exists merely as a character in Detective Comics, which can be read by Red Logan.  The statement could reflect either reality.

But here is where it all began.  Who did you think it was, Slam Bradley?

OK, back to Red.

His serial concludes in issue 40, and his run in More Fun Comics does as well.


Red Logan continues in the Early Golden Age


Red Logan:  More Fun Comics 31 – 37  (May – Nov 38),  39 – 40  (Jan – Feb 39)

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