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Socko Strong (Early Golden Age)


Socko Strong finally gets a shot at the heavyweight championship in the first story of 1940, and despite efforts by defending champion Spike Logan to get him out of town during the match, Socko makes it back in time and triumphs.  Though his series runs until December of 1940, he never again enters the ring to defend his title.

We also learn, in that story in Adventure 46, that the newspaper Jerry Indutch works for is the Daily Bulletin, but we never see its offices again.

Hollywood beckons the new champion, and for the next two issues he acts in a boxing movie with Monte Swift, a jealous actor who does not like that the script puts Socko in the more heroic role.  He tries to make Socko look bad, but each failure to do so ups his plans, and eventually Swift is plain out trying to kill him.  Socko outwits him at every step, and enjoys the battle of wits so much that he in content to leave the actor wallowing in a mud pile at the end, not bothering to lay charges for the murder attempts.

Adventure 50 has a story clearly derived from the Clifford Odets play Golden Boy, which was a massive success on Broadway at this time.  A young boy is both a boxer and a violinist, and his father worries boxing will ruin his hands and destroy his music career, calling on Socko to talk the boy out of fighting.  As the boy himself prefers the violin, it’s not that hard.

From issues 52 – 54, Socko deals with a mad scientist, Professor Rosencrantz, who has developed an invisibility serum, and calls himself The Great.  The invisibility does not work with cameras, or with mirrors, which is very odd.  I cannot think of another invisibility story that has used that notion.  The Great plans to blow up a power plant, but Socko and Jerry get jobs as painters, and when The Great tries to plant his bomb, Socko sprays him with paint.  Touching the door painted by Jerry makes the two paints react in such a way as to electrocute The Great.  I guess if invisibility doesn’t work against mirrors, blending paints can cause electrocution.

Adventure 56 sees Sock get hired as a bodyguard for customs inspector Joseph Meek, scared of being attacked by smugglers.  As things pan out, Sock gets captured by the bad guys, and Meek not only saves him, but beats up the smugglers as well.

Socko’s final tale, in Adventure 57, has him chatting with Jerry, relating a tale about how having bad friends can turn a good kid wrong, and the importance of education.

Thinking about what must have happened to Sock after this, I conclude that he next went to defend his title, and lost the match.  That lost him his series.  This is foreshadowed in the story in 56, as Socko is less of a successful fighter than the wimpy customs official.  The final story, and its talk about college, I extrapolate into Socko heading to university after losing his title.

 

Socko Strong:  Adventure Comics 46 – 57 (Jan – Dec 1940)

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)

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