Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, May 30, 2015


This issue of Boy Comics features two (count em, two!) adventures of Charles Biro's* Crimebuster.  Crimebuster is really young teen Chuck Chandler, who left military school in 1942 after his journalist father was killed by the Nazi villain Iron Jaw.  Iron Jaw also kidnapped Chuck's mother and the Chuck sauntered off to Germany to rescue her.  Sadly, his mother was killed during the escape.  Vowing to battle crime and villainy, Chuck becomes Crimebuster, wearing his school's hockey uniform and the school's miltary cape.  (Since his school was Custer Military Academy, there was a convenient "C" emblazoned on the shirt; after the war, Chuck's school becomes Curtis High School -- still with a "C".)  Joining Crimebuster is his performing monkey, Squeeks.  They pursued Iron Jaw for thirteen issues before the bad guy is killed.  Crimebuster and Squeeks pursue crime until 1956, when Boy Comics suspended publication.  By that time the restrictive Comics Code went into effect, banning the word "crime,"  so Crimebuster became known as "C.B."  (He had previously rid himself of his costume because a girl had [rightly] called it dorky.)

[Meandering thoughts:  Boy Comics was a Lev Gleason publication.  Another of Gleason publications was Daredevil Comics -- not the later Marvel comics superhero mind you -- which was also drawn by Biro.  (Daredevil was a character owned by New Friday, Inc. and was purchased from them by Gleason in 1942.)  Anyway, Daredevil Comics later introduced the characters of The Little Wise Guys.  These kids (Meatball, Jock, Scarecrow, and Peewee -- and later Baldy, when Meatball was killed off) helped Daredevil on his various cases until they became so popular that Daredevil was reduced to just introducing their adventures.  Where am I going with this?  Well, Biro brought back Iron Jaw as a recurring menace for The Little Wise Guys and that's where I met the whole gang -- one of my first and fondest comic book memories.  Loved them.  That's all.  Pardon my wandering down Memory Lane.]

So, Crimebuster...

In the first story, he and Squeeks are watching some neighborhood boys swimming off a pier.  One on the boys dives deep. into a corpse with cement shoes!  There's no ID on the body, only a racing ticket that leads Crimebuster to the local track and a murderer.  After a prolonged battle (and a dead police officer) the killer is caught and -- in the last panel -- is sentenced to hang because "Crime Does Not Pay." (which happened to be the title of one of Lev Gleason's most popular comics).

It's interesting to see that the police willingly accept this costume kid's help.  Even more interesting is race track tout Dottie English's brilliant realization, "I know who you are now -- you're Crimbuster!"
(This after three pages of interacting with  the costumed boy with a monkey on his shoulder.)  Then there's the track official, after Crimebuster captures the murderer on the track itself (and after Squeeks jockeys a 50-1 nag to win the race), who says, "I thought that was you, Crimebuster!"  Way to go incognito in your hockey uniform and school military cape, C. B.!

In the second Crimebuster story, a bank clerk readily admits to embezzling $50,000.  The question is, what happened to the money?  Once again, the kid with the dorky costume works hand in hand with the police as Crimebuster goes undercover as a hardcore criminal, complete with beard stubble and a mustache.  I guess crooks in 1946 are easily duped.

But that's not all you get for your dime.  There's also

  • an adventure of Swoop Storm, kid aviation inventor, and his buddy Winky
  • the true story of Don Molony, a seventeen-year-old Coast Guard lad who saved a dozen people on June 28, 1945, when an army B 25 crashed into the Empire State Building
  • a comic adventure of Yankee Longago, "the Boy of TODAY in the LAND of YESTERDAY" 
  • "Death in a White Suit," a two-page text story by Sidney Mason featuring Daredevil.
  • Young Robinhood** and His Band,  young crime fighters dressed as the Merry Men of old, face the Caselli gang in modern day New York
  • Little Dynamite and his gang (think the Dead End Kids) go up against Dirk Derranger and his protection racket,
And then there are the advertisements.  Yes, you can get rid of pimples and blackheads (and hickeys!), gain a manly sculpted body, practice to be an airplane pilot, make the dead ends of your hair work for you, wear tattoo transfers of you favorite comic book heroes, send coded messages in invisible ink, and learn to play the piano without music!  Not only that, but you can a Gene Autry holster set for selling just one order of American Seeds!  Sure, one order is 40 packages of seeds, but, hey.

And best of all (IMHO), Girls can't resist the Kiss Me Necktie as it GLOWS in the dark!  Not only does it glow, but it spells out the words "WILL YOU KISS ME IN THE DARK, BABY?"  Yessir, by day it's a smart wrinkle-free, tailored cravat the is smart**, superb class by day, but at night when the shades are drawn and the curtains are drawn. then boy-o-boy!  Did I mention girls can't resist this? ere's  Gotta order me a dozen or so of those, PDQ!

Anyway, in all its glory, here's Boy Comics #26.


* Some sources credit Bob Wood as Crimebuster's co-creator.
**That's correct.  One word.
***So the word "smart" is used twice.  Both I and the ad's copywriters feel that it is proper -- nay, necessary! -- to emphasize this point.

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