Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, July 4, 2015

U.S. JONES #2 (JANUARY 1942)

For the Fourth of July, here's a patriotic hero somewhat unlike any other patriotic hero in American comics:  U.S. Jones followed on the footsteps of Captain America and The Shield, but this guy wasn't satisfied with just beating up the baddies and gathering young fans.  Nope, U.S. Jones was actively priming American kids  for war.  Red-blooded American kids could become U.S. Jones Cadets and receive a membership card, a secret decoder book, an official pin back, and a set of instructions on how to organize an air raid courier service!  Kids had to pledge to defend democracy at all costs and to uphold the Constitution and the Ten Commandments ('cuz, y'know, separation of Church and State is for wussies).  

Kids were urged to always follow these ten rules:
  • Keep fit.  (You need strength and endurance to battle america's enemies.)
  • Prevent accidents.  (America can't afford to lose any able-bodied person.  And look both ways before crossing the street.)
  • Know your neighborhood.  (To better protect it.  This includes scoping out potential air raid shelters.)
  • Learn first aid.  (Including fire prevention.)
  • Keep your town sanitary.  (On the other hand, piles of trash in the street could slow the enemy's advance.)
  • Conserve.  (Recycle aluminum by turning it in to your local police station.)
  • Know your neighbors.  (Paranoia could be your friend.)
  • Learn to use your Code.  (Remember that secret decoder book?  If worse came to worse, your Code may be the only safe way to communicate.)
  • Speak up for Democracy.  (Shout down defeatist  propaganda.)
  • Buy Defense Stamps.  (The Government needs the help of every patriotic child.)
Follow these rules, kids, and we will force "the black hand of fascism to break against the red-blooded freedom of...America!"

All this shortly before America entered the war.

This patriotic fervor, alas, did not translate into a long life for U.S. Jones.  The comic book only lasted two issues.  (The Cadet premiums, however, constitute a Holy Grail among collectors, commanding high prices.)

U.S. Jones made one appearance before earning s own comic book -- in Wonderland Comics #28 (August 1941).  Jones, by the way, had no back story -- real American he-men don't need no stinkin' origin stories! -- he just was, like a force of nature.  We also have no idea who created the character.

Issue #2 showcases four adventures of  U.S. Jones.  First, in "Death's Master Mind," top army generals are suddenly dying and being replaced by doppelgangers.  Then, U.S. Jones and his partner Grumbler are assigned to protect the Crown Jewels of the exiled Polish government from "The Crimson Saint."  The third adventure has our hero's buddy Grumbler used as bait in a deadly trap set by Jones' arch-enemy in "The Return of The Crimson Saint."  Another arch-enemy, the  Nazi Moloch, returns, leaving a blood-soaked trail in "The Case of the Choking Death;" a group of U.S. Jones Cadets help put paid to the Nazi's plans.

Also in this issue are adventures of Dirk Delancey (a rough and tumble American agent), The Topper (a masked crime fighter in top hat and tails), and Peg Miller, Girl Detective.

Let's face it.  The Nazis never stood a chance.


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