Saturday, November 15, 2014
MONTY HALL OF THE U.S. MARINES #1 (AUGUST 1951)
With a name like Monty Hall, he could only be a marine. There's no indication of this, but I'd bet his middle name was Zuma.
Monty Hall, a recent college graduate, enlists in the marines. At boot camp, he becomes friends with Tex and Canarsie. It takes ten detailed pages to turn the raw recruits into fighting leathernecks, but now they are ready and eager to fight in Korea.
And fight they do. In the second story, "The Devil's Mask," Monty is now a sergeant leading his men (including Tex and Canarsie) behind enemy lines when they rescue an elderly monk. The enemy has taken and desecrated a holy temple, commanding the high ground and controlling much of the area around the shrine. Monty and his leathernecks cannot attack and destroy the site because the enemy has captured a number of monks and are using them as human shields. Luckily Monty had spent two summers at a ranch and knew how to lasso -- well, it makes some sense in the story. Everything works out fine after Monty pulls a trick on the very superstitious enemy.
In 'The City of Flame," Monty, Tex, and Canarsie are stuck behind enemy lines in a burning city. As they try to get back to their unit, they rescue what they thought was a child from a sniper. It was no child, but a bundled-up dancehall girl named Katie. Burdened with a civilian (or is she a spy?), they once more try to get out of the city but the only bridge to safety is destroyed seconds before they reach it.
All three Monty Hall stories were drawn by Mel Keeler. There is not as much jingoism as I had expected in these tales. The North Koreans are evil -- at least the commanding officers are; some of the ground troops seem to be far less so. The South Koreans are noble, honest people and Monty, his men, and the whole U. N. force are just trying to make it so these quiet people could go back to their peaceful lives.
And then there's Pinup Pete, drawn by Jack Sparling. Pete takes up the last six pages of the comic book. Pete is one marine who knows the finer things in life. Women. And his wall can attest to that; it's covered with pin-ups of gorgeous girls and Pete devotes a page to each one. This feature is basically an excuse for Sparling to show off his Good Girl Art, vintage 1951.
All in all, not a bad issue.