Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, April 23, 2016

DOLL MAN 21 (MARCH 1949)

When it comes to shrinking comic book heroes, Will Eisner's Doll Man led the way, putting the kibosh on bad guys two decades before Antman or the Atom.

Research chemist Darrel Dane creates a formula that allows him to concentrate his atoms at will, shrinking him to a six-inch powerhouse.  After rescuing his fiance from a blackmailer, Dane decides to fight fight crime.  His fiance, reporter Martha Roberts, sews a red and blue costume for the new superhero and we're off to the races.

About that costume:  it's a sleeveless, one-piece blue leotard that fits not too tight, but just tight enough to emphasize Doll Man's pecs and abs and bulges (if you know what I mean).  The outfit has a wide spread collar (red) and an attached cape (ditto red).  Dollman wears a narrow belt with a golden buckle.  He has red boots, kind of like mukluks (maybe, I'm no fashion maven) with the shaft of each boot folded over on itself -- not the most practical footwear for a superhero.  The really cool thing is, when Darrel Dane wishes himself down to Doll Man size, his street clothes disappear and he's automatically wearing his costume, and vice versa when he returns to his normal size.  How Martha Roberts manages to sew that ability into the costume escapes me.  Doll Man does not wear a mask, so his identity is out there for anyone to suss, although the only two people who know Doll Man's secret identity are Martha and her father, Dr. Roberts -- I'm sure this can be explained away by the use of a Jedi mind trick, but why bother?

Doll Man ("the world's mightiest mite") made his debut in Feature Comics #27 (December 1939) from Quality Comics and remained the the lead story of that title through 1949.  He was given his ownquarterly comic book in 1941, which ran for 47 issues through 1953, after which Doll Man disappeared from the comic book scene for 20 years.  Quality comics went belly-up in 1956 and DC Comics got the rights to Quality's characters.  In October, 1973, Doll Man and some other Quality characters were revived as the Freedom Fighters, a group of superheroes on (surprise, surprise) Earth-X, a parallel world where Germany had won World War II.  As a DC superhero, Doll Man was little used and, last anyone heard of, his alter ego Darrel Dane had been confined to a mental institution.  It's seems the years of being compressed to a six-inch size damaged his brain and left him mentally unstable -- a sad ending. DC Comics gave Doll Man little respect (pun intended).

In this issue, Doll Man comes against a gun the shoots poison bullets, a gang of kidnappers who dump their human cargo into the ocean, an another vicious gang of kidnappers who target a little girl.
Asa bonus we get a tale of Torchy, the zaftig blonde with the wasp waist; this time around Torchy gets hyponitzed and is compelled to steal.


1 comment:

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