Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, June 25, 2016


The words emblazoned on the cover of this comic book tells us that it is BASED ON TELEVISION'S OUTSTANDING CRIME PROGRAM.  Huh.  Searching back through the mists of my memory (which can be both misty and musty), I could not recall any television show called MIKE BARNETT.   A few clicks on the computer later -- those intertubes are a wonderful thing -- told me that Mike Barnett was the private eye hero of Man Against Crime, a program that ran from 1949 to 1954 from first CBS, then Dumont, and finally on NBC (for a brief while, episodes were aired concurrently on both NBC and Dumont).  Ralph Bellamy starred as Mike Barnett.

In my learned opinion, the comic book Mike Barnett does not look anything like Ralph Bellemy.

Only six issues of Mike Barnett, Man against Crime were released by Fawcett Publications.

This issue starts off with "The Case of the Old Hobo."  A seedy hobo shows up at Mike's office, claiming someone is trying to kill him.  Mike shrugs it off and gives the hobo a buck, telling him to get a good meal and then sleep off the jag that's causing him to imagine things.  Minutes later a car tries to run over the hobo.  Maybe the old man wasn't imagining things after all.  Pretty soon, mike finds himself on the ledge of a building, being told by two thugs to either jump or be plugged full of holes.

This is followed by a one-page, unfunny joke strip about the definitely un-PC Dopey Danny Dee, and a list of television stations (forty-two of 'em) carrying Man Against Crime.

After that, we have an advertisement where Pud accidently start a big boat race by popping a bubble of Fleer's Double Bubble Gum.  The bottom part of the page has a quiz to test your smarts.  (Well, maybe not.  According to the quiz, The Saar is an independent European nation; at the time it was a French Protectorate.  Evidently, you don't need a knowledge of current affairs to produce a comic book.

Moving on as rapidly as we can, there's an unfortunate one-page joke strip about Tightwad Tad. The less said about this the better.  There's also an ad for both the movie and the comic book adaptation of Wylie and Balmer's When Worlds Collide.

In order to meet Post Office regulations, we have a  two-page text story, "Dead Beat," signed by Joe K. Jones.

So when are we going to get back to Mike Barnett?  Not yet, my friend.  First we have to trudge through a four-page, drawn-out joke strip about Colonel Corn and Korny Kobb.

At last our patience is rewarded with "Special Delivery," in which Mike is hired to deliver a pair of rare vases to his client's uncle in Toronto.  Naturally, the vases were not so valuable, but the smuggled diamonds in the false bottom of the case were.  Not only was Mike being played for a patsy, but the cases were switched without his knowledge, putting him on the wrong end of a pistol.  Mother of Mercy, will this be the end of Rico...uh, Mike?  Nah.  Our hero's tough.

The Mike Barnett of the comic book is a (slightly) above average private eye.  If you let your mind go blank when you come across a few fairly obvious plot holes, you'll be entertained.


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