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Steve Malone, District Attorney (Early Golden Age)


Steve Malone makes it all the way to the end of his run without ever entering a courtroom or trying a case.  Not what you would expect from a series about a district attorney, but as in his earlier tales, Steve is a much more go out and hunt down the bad guys yourself kinda dude.

His assistant, Happy, appears in about half of his stories, and he does get a secretary, Nancy, in issue 35.  He sends her out as bait for a kidnapping ring, and though she gets freed, we never see her again, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she gave her notice after that.

Kidnappers make up the bulk of the foes Steve faces.  He does expose the Police Commissioner as the man behind the gambling rackets, in Detective Comics 38.  The stories are simple and straightforward, the mysteries fairly easy to solve.  Towards the end of the run, as in Speed Saunders, there was often a box inviting the reader to guess who the killer was before proceeding with the conclusion.

In Detective 46, “The Bargain Deaths,” he faces a killer in drag, and deduces it must be a man when he catches a quarter dropped in his lap[ by closing his legs, rather than opening them and using the skirt.  Clever.

In most of the stories the art is mediocre, but reliable.  The only story where it stands out is issue 52, in which a yacht crashes onto Long Island Sound with a man hanging from the rafters inside.  The man is never shown, but his shadow is seen, cast on the wall, and we see the facial reactions of the people looking at him.

In his final story Steve is called to the home of a wealthy retired judge with a gambling son and a niece begging for money for her husband.  When the judge is killed, Steve figures out that its the jewelled-earring wearing nurse who was the killer, not the money hungry youths.

Steve Malone’s series ends at this point, and his character is never seen again, but after such a high-profile career I would expect that Steve went into politics and had a long and lucrative tenure in Washington D.C.

Steve Malone:  Detective Comics 35 – 42  (Jan – Aug 40),  44 – 59  (Oct 40 – Jan 42)

Steve Malone, District Attorney


Steve Malone is introduced as “a brilliant young criminal lawyer.”  Oddly, at no point in this era do we ever see him in a courtroom, but he’s too busy chasing down bad guys and having fistfights in biplanes to bother with that stuff.

The art is fairly rough at the start of the series, improves a lot by then end, and the stories do as well, sort of.  They remain often in a muddled state.

In his first story he is approached by the wife of the French ambassador as he emerges from the opera house, and he seems to have a well off background and group of friends.  He solves the ambassador’s murder without even needing the police.  When he does deal with them, they are hugely deferential to him.

In his second story he gets a secretary, Jeanne, and a buddy/sidekick, Big Jim, a boisterous drunken russian.  They chase down and catch bank robber Ferrini.

The next story follows this up, as Steve gets a call informing him that Jim has been killed, though he finds him barely alive, and has to fish him out of a river.  Ferrini was part of an opium smuggling mob, and they are seeking vengeance, but Steve tracks down and captures them all.

Neither Big Jim nor Jeanne appears again, and I think it’s safe to say Jim dies of his injuries, and I think Jeanne leaves afterwards, so upset about Jim dying, they must have had something going on.

Steve has another solo outing, and then his series jumps over to Adventure Comics for two months, and a bit of a reboot.

Steve now has an assistant, Happy, a young blond guy, but old enough to probably be the assistant DA.  Steve is no more inclined to hit a courtroom.  In the first of the two stories he flies a seaplane, dives from it, swims to a boat and climbs onboard to catch some killers.

Happy sticks around as the series moves back to Detective Comics just as this era ends, and they crack a protection scam.

Steve Malone, District Attorney continues in the Early Golden Age

Steve Malone:  Detective Comics  18 – 19 (Aug – Sep 38),  21  (Nov 38),  26 (Apr 39)

Adventure Comics  38 – 39 (May – June 39)

Detective Comics  34 (Dec 39)

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